River's Edge Convention Center operational assessment by stcloudtimes

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                   OF THE


                  Prepared by
            VenuWorks Consulting
         a Division of VenuWorks, Inc
                  Ames. Iowa

           Final November 6, 2012

                                         OF THE

                       RIVER’S EDGE
                    CONVENTION CENTER
                              ST. CLOUD, MINNESOTA

                                   Prepared by
                             VenuWorks Consulting
                          a Division of VenuWorks, Inc
                                   Ames. Iowa

                              Final November 6, 2012

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       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................................................... 5
       Key Recommendations ............................................................................ 6
1.     INTRODUCTION ................................................................................... 11
       Overview ............................................................................................... 113
       First Site Visit......................................................................................... 14
       Second Site Visit..................................................................................... 15
       Staffing ................................................................................................. 17
       Current Organizational Chart .................................................................... 25
       Proposed organizational Chart................................................................... 26
       Reporting Structure................................................................................. 26
       Booking Guidelines.................................................................................. 29
       Booking Calendar.................................................................................... 31
       History .................................................................................................. 35
       Client Use Agreement .............................................................................. 36
       Advancing and Servicing Events ................................................................ 37
       Event Coordination.................................................................................. 40
       Event Set Up Diagrams ............................................................................ 41
       Event Staff............................................................................................. 42
       Parking.................................................................................................. 43
       Traffic Control ........................................................................................ 45
       Ticketing Office and Ticketing ................................................................... 45
5.     FINANCE
       Funding ................................................................................................. 47
       Financial Benchmarks .............................................................................. 50
       Forecasting ............................................................................................ 51
       Profit and Loss Statements / Rental Rates .................................................. 52
       Catering ................................................................................................ 53
       Kitchen Equipment / Cleanliness ............................................................... 54
       Concessions / Non Alcoholic Beverages ...................................................... 55
       Alcohol Services...................................................................................... 56

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         Market Analysis ...................................................................................... 59
         Convention and Visitors Bureau Marketing Agreement .................................. 60
         Marketing and Sales Initiatives ................................................................. 61
         Website Review ...................................................................................... 62
         Operations Manual .................................................................................. 65
         Planned Maintenance............................................................................... 66
         Event Rigging ......................................................................................... 66
         Wayfinding............................................................................................. 67
         Organization of Equipment and Supplies..................................................... 70
         Facility Cleanliness .................................................................................. 70
         Internet Connectivity............................................................................... 71
         Employee Safety..................................................................................... 73
         Loss Control Inspections .......................................................................... 74
         Other Safety Recommendations ................................................................ 77
         Patron Safety ......................................................................................... 79
10.      CONCLUSION ....................................................................................... 87
         Operational Assessment Recommendations Potential Financial Impact ............ 88
APPENDICES ................................................................................................... 89

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In January 2012 the long anticipated expansion of the River’s Edge Convention Center opened for
business. This expansion offers unlimited opportunities to attract new events to the community,
enhance the experience for current clients and provide the services and amenities today’s event
planners and patrons expect. As the venue entered the mid-point of its first year of operation, the
City of St. Cloud in partnership with the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce undertook an
operational assessment of the many factors that influence the River’s Edge operation. In June,
VenuWorks entered into a Consulting Services Agreement with the City of St. Cloud to conduct this
assessment and where applicable make recommendations.

The River’s Edge is a first class venue with a long history of success and has operated at a profit when
factoring in the annual funding allocation. The staff is very knowledgeable and dedicated to meeting
the client’s needs. The construction and expansion of the venue has added greatly to the workload of
the existing staff. Through VenuWorks meetings and survey work the participants had many positive
comments about the staff. However, consistently participants stated that the staffing levels are no
longer adequate for a venue the size of the expanded River’s Edge and voiced concern that the staff is
challenged to deliver on client expectations. Further, participants felt that many of the processes the
Center utilizes are outdated which led to frustrations being voiced by clients, vendors and community

Overall the River’s Edge is a welcoming, clean and safe venue that provides a very impressive first-
impression. Clients that have held their events at the River’s Edge for several years are accustomed
to the way business is done and have adapted to the venue’s operation. The challenge for the River’s
Edge is the expectation potential and new clients have of how business is conducted in modern,
efficient venues throughout the United States. One survey respondent stated it best as “Good isn’t
good enough anymore”. To thrive in the competitive environment of public assembly venues, venue
staff must be aggressive in pursing clients, creative in negotiating the rental package and provide
customer service above and beyond the client’s expectations. It takes a successful attitude from all
stakeholders to create a successful venue.

The VenuWorks Project Team spent several days in the St. Cloud community meeting with River’s
Edge staff, clients, vendors and community stakeholders and gathering documents and information
related to the operations of the River’s Edge. While each aspect of operation is dependent upon the
other for overall success, for purposes of evaluation and recommendation, this Operational
Assessment Report has been divided into the following sections:

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       Introduction
       Scope of Services and Methodology
       Administration
       Event Management
       Finance
       Food and Beverage
       Sales and Marketing
       Operations and Production
       Safety and Security
       Conclusion

The following recommendations are intended to provide the City of St. Cloud with benchmarks for the
River’s Edge operational performance related to industry best practices. The City, the River’s Edge
staff and key stakeholders are encouraged to work collaboratively in the best interest of the
community when evaluating the Project Team’s recommendations factoring in budget impact, building
and client costs, service levels and specific City codes and policies. An implementation plan should be
developed through which timelines for compliance are established.

Key Recommendations:
       The City should fill the currently vacant position of Community Services & Facilities Director
        with an individual who has a collaborative mentality and experience working with community
        stakeholders in a public assembly venue environment.
       The current job description for the River’s Edge Manager is aligned more with a typical
        Operations Manager’s position. It is recommended that the Manager’s job description be
        revised so that it relates to an overall management role with a focus on business
       The current position of Marketing and Events Coordinator should be divided into two separate
        positions; Sales and Marketing Coordinator and Event Coordinator. These should each be full
        time positions.
       The current Operations Supervisor position should be upgraded and revised to an Operations
        Manager’s position with full department oversight and responsibilities.
       A City Advisory Board should be established to work in partnership with the River’s Edge and
        the City.
       An evaluation of whether the River’s Edge would benefit from private management should be
       A review of the methodology for balancing consumer show and convention business based on
        the expansion should be discussed.

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      The River’s Edge should convert to an electronic booking calendar system.
      More than one staff member of the River’s Edge must be able to provide available dates to
       potential clients. (Note: At the beginning of the Operational Assessment process Mr.
       Dunsmoor was the only staff member authorized to provide available dates to clients. After
       reviewing a draft of the report, he stated he now has authorized four additional staff members
       to provide dates to clients.)
      The CVB should be the only other outside organization provided with access to the booking
       calendar. Their access should be limited to a “Read Only” function.

Key Recommendations:
      Convert the Client Use Agreement (rental contract) to an electronic contract.
      The Event Coordinator should take complete control of the event including coordination of the
       discussions with the client, key venue staff, caterers, decorators and other service providers.
      Create a Manager on Duty program to ensure consistently high level of customer service to
       clients, patrons and vendors.
      The River’s Edge should assume the responsibility of creating the event set up diagrams to
       ensure the use of the venue spaces are maximized and within the guidelines of the building,
       fire and safety regulations.
      During the move in of multiple events, a “dock master” should be assigned to monitor client
       and vendor activity. The Dock Master will ensure that the dock areas remain clear, parking is
       available and there is no cross-over of events.
      Develop of a corps of volunteers to staff a “Guest Services” area in the lobby during event
       hours. This person should be knowledgeable of the venue and the community. Patrons
       should have access to community maps and brochures highlighting restaurants, shops and
       attractions. (Note: After the draft of the report was reviewed by Bill Dunsmoor and Julie
       Lunning, they indicated that the CVB does provide this service through the St. Cloud Greeters.
       However, the client must request the service so there is not a consistent presence at the
       River’s Edge. It is recommended that a portable Guest Services area be set up on a regular
       basis during events which draw patrons and visitors into the community. This area could have
       an interactive computer for less active days and staffed with volunteers during busier times.)
      Until a new parking ramp can be built across 5th Avenue from the venue, a concerted effort
       should be made to heighten awareness of the existing parking spaces near the venue. Special
       attention should be given to promoting increased usage of the parking ramp under the River’s

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Key Recommendations:
      Develop a financial worksheet that provides the Manager with the ability to forecast on a
       monthly basis fluctuations in budgeted revenues and expenses in order to effectively monitor
       year-end financial outcomes.
      Develop event profit and loss statements. These statements provide an important tool in
       budgeting and ensuring that event revenues are maximized through efficient and effective
       staffing and services.
      Evaluate rental rates in comparison to competitors as well as profitability of events.
      Develop a method of negotiating with clients to meet their financial needs while still achieving
       annual budget goals and objectives. (Please refer to Food & Beverage.)

Key Recommendations:
      The catering commission should be raised to 15-20% to be in alignment with industry
      A discussion should be held between the venue and the City as to establishment of a fund
       from a portion of the increased catering commissions that may be used to offset client
       expenses on a case by case basis.
      Establish a part time kitchen manager’s position to oversee the kitchen and catering
      Develop a more creative and upscale concessions menu; especially for multi-day events.
      Research placing portable carts and kiosks in primary traffic areas during events to increase
       concession sales.
      Enter into a discussion with the City and the Holiday Inn regarding the brands of alcoholic
       beverages served and consumer prices.
      At the end of the Agreement term with the Holiday Inn, explore bringing the alcohol service in
       house to increase profitability.

Key Recommendations:
      The River’s Edge and CVB staff must mend their relationship for the good of both
       organizations, the clients and the community. Following the Guidelines of the International
       Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and Destination Marketing Association International
       (DMAI), the organizations should create their own “Best Practices” policy built on a mutual
       respect for each organization.

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      The Sales/Marketing Coordinator in coordination with the Manager and the CVB should develop
       an annual sales and marketing plan for the River’s Edge establishing goals and objectives for
       the fiscal year.

Key Recommendations:
      Restructure the job responsibilities of the current Operations Supervisor to be more closely
       aligned with an Operations Manager’s position.
      Develop a comprehensive Operations Manual specific to the River’s Edge.
      Develop a Planned Maintenance Program.
      Provide event rigging training to the Operations Manager.
      Improve venue wayfinding signage to enhance the visitor and patron experience.
      Improve venue cleanliness (specifically bathrooms) in order to meet patron expectations.

Key Recommendations:
      Include as a part of the next Loss Control Assessment a review of applicable OSHA programs
       that may be required for the River’s Edge.
      Create a venue Safety Station which will serve as a single location for safety information and
      Bring all staff training up to date.
      The Emergency Action Plan should be updated to include the expansion and all staff trained to
       the elements of the Plan.
      Create a venue wide PA system for making emergency announcements.
      Create pre-approved written announcements to be used in the case of an emergency.
      Adjust/add fire extinguisher location signage to prevent it from being blocked by patrons
       and/or equipment.
      Conduct monthly inspections of battery powered emergency and exit lighting and log results.
      Evaluate the need for a Certified Crowd Manager’s program and seating riser inspection
      Establish and implement venue lock down procedures for the expansion.
      Establish a surveillance camera policy.
      Consider the DHS Risk Self-Assessment Tool as a method for evaluating protections of the
       River’s Edge infrastructure.

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VenuWorks would like to thank the River’s Edge and City staff for their openness and accessibility
throughout this assessment process. We appreciate the willingness of the clients and community
stakeholders to share their insights on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation
to the River’s Edge. The information gathered was vital to providing a clear understanding of the
current operation of the River’s Edge.

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                                  RIVER’S EDGE MISSION STATEMENT
                    The mission of the Civic Center is to provide a quality facility for
                            conventions and meetings at a competitive price.

The River’s Edge Convention Center (formerly known as the St. Cloud Civic Center) is located on the
west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Cloud, MN. Built in 1988, the Center has been an
integral part of the downtown redevelopment. The Center has a long history of success of attracting
local, regional and national conventions, consumer shows, meetings, weddings, trade shows and
entertainment events. Based on this success, the City of St. Cloud engaged Conventions, Sports and
Leisure International (CSL) in 2002 to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the potential
expansion/renovation of the St. Cloud Civic Center. In 2004 and 2006, CSL updated their findings and
conclusions related to the expansion/renovation.

In 2010 construction began on the expansion/renovation of the River’s Edge Convention Center
(River’s Edge). In January 2012 the Center experienced a soft opening and ribbon cutting. The
expansion nearly doubled the size of the building, enhanced existing spaces and improved parking
options. Today, the River’s Edge includes 180,000 square feet of space, 19 meeting rooms, 60,000
square feet of continuous exhibit space and a 16,000 square foot ballroom. The expansion/renovation
of the River’s Edge has significantly boosted the City and Convention Bureau’s ability to bring new and
larger associations, conventions and tradeshows to the Central Lakes region and provides the Center
greater capability of hosting multiple, simultaneous events.

Other important components of the River’s Edge complex are the future construction of a parking
facility, the public access trail head and the installation of various fixtures, furnishings and equipment
for the facility. The City of St. Cloud recently applied to the Minnesota Business Development Capital
Project Grant Program requesting the funding necessary to complete the River’s Edge Convention
Center project. In September, the City was notified that this request would not be included in the
current funding cycle. The City is researching other options that may be available to them to keep the
project moving forward to completion.

The new potential associated with the completed portions of the project brings with it heightened
levels of financial expectation and economic impact for the community. Given these changing
dynamics in a highly competitive industry, the City of St. Cloud in partnership with the St. Cloud
Chamber of Commerce engaged VenuWorks to conduct an assessment of the River’s Edge current and

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future business prospects and benchmark comparisons to the operational practices and
revenue/expense performances of similar facilities in the marketplace.

VenuWorks brings expertise from an operator’s perspective to this assessment. VenuWorks has been
in existence since 1996 and is well known for its success in providing management services for
arenas, theaters, and convention centers, which are primarily under the governance of municipalities,
counties, colleges, and universities. Because VenuWorks manages buildings day in and day out, it
brings an operator’s mindset to the consulting work it does, providing recommendations that are
practical, cost effective, workable and in accordance with industry standards for public assembly

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VenuWorks was retained by the City of St. Cloud to conduct an operational assessment of the River’s
Edge and to make recommendations when applicable. The assessment included the following
        Initial Meeting with City/Project Committee
        Review of Current Organizational Structure and Staffing Levels
        Update CSL Study Findings Regarding Current Market and Future Markets
        Review Historic Performance, Current Budget and Management Reports
        Evaluate River’s Edge / St. Cloud Area CVB Sales and Marketing Efforts / Stakeholder
        Review Operation / Equipment / Physical Plan
        Review Food and Beverage / Concessions and Catering
        Review Event Management and Exhibitor Services
        Conduct Benchmarking Analysis
        Provide Strategic Analysis and Recommendations in a Final Report

At various points throughout the assessment the Project Team included the following VenuWorks
        Sharon Cummins, Project Lead, National Director of Planning and Development
        Steve Peters, President
        Tammy Koolbeck, Senior Vice President
        Russ Ferguson, Vice President Food and Beverage
        Tim Sullivan, Vice President of Finance, CFO
        Mike Piehl, Corporate Accountant
        Ron Cummins, Director of Safety and Security
        Randy Baumeister, Director of Operations and Productions
        Charlton Northington, Executive Director, Hurst Conference Center
        Thomas Peters, Brand Manager
        Troy Thorn, Executive Director, Vicksburg Convention Center
        Heather Breymeyer, Director of Sales, Three Rivers Convention Center
        Shelley Ellis, Executive Assistant, Three Rivers Campus

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The VenuWorks Project Team consisting of Sharon Cummins, Ron Cummins, and Randy Baumeister
traveled to St. Cloud on July 10-13, 2012 to initiate the project.   Interviews were conducted with the
following individuals:
       Dave Kleis              Mayor
       Mike Williams           City Administrator
       Teresa Bohnen           President, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
       Tony Goddard            Executive Director, Paramount Theatre & Visual Arts Center
       Todd Bissett            Arena Operations Manager, Municipal Athletics Complex (MAC)
       Julie Lunning           Executive Director, Destination Granite County, St. Cloud Area CVB
       Pegg Gustafson          President, St. Cloud Downtown Council
       Jennifer Burrows        Administrative Aid (Safety Coordinator), City of St. Cloud
       Dede Balcom Gaetz       Human Resources Director, City of St. Cloud
       John Norman             Director of Finance, City of St. Cloud

The Project Team met with the following full time River’s Edge staff to discuss the assessment process
and begin collecting data:
       Bill Dunsmoor           Manager
       Pam Weber               Office Supervisor
       Brian O’Malley          Operations Technicians Supervisor
       Lester Boots            Operations Technician

During this visit discussions were also held with the following part time staff:
       Jenny Weber             Receptionist
       Sue Thompson            Event Coordinator (working on a contract basis)

The following venues were toured:
       River’s Edge Convention Center
       Municipal Athletic Complex (MAC)
       Paramount Theatre & Visual Arts Center

During this site visit the Project Team observed routine event conversions at the River’s Edge as well
making observations of the nearby streetscape, signage, parking facilities, businesses, hotels and

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On August 14-16, 2012 the VenuWorks Project Team of Sharon Cummins, Ron Cummins and Russ
Ferguson traveled to St. Cloud to conduct focus group meetings with River’s Edge stakeholders and
assess the venue’s food and beverage operation.
Focus group meetings included:
       Clients
       Hoteliers
       Local Businesses
       Caterers
       Decorators
       Service/Technical Vendors
Attendees were encouraged to attend the session most applicable to their relationship with the River’s
Edge. However, if the session time did not work into their schedule, they were welcomed to attend
any of the sessions. Fifty-three stakeholders attended the focus group meetings.

Session attendees were asked to speak candidly about their perceptions of the good things about
River’s Edge, challenges they have encountered and recommendations for change or improvement. It
had been determined that staff members of the River’s Edge and the Convention & Visitors Bureau
would not attend the sessions, as it was felt that attendees would be more forthcoming in their
feedback if representatives of these organizations were not present. A subsequent conference call
was held with VenuWorks and the staff of the CVB to gather their feedback.

The letter of invitation was distributed to several hundred organizations through the River’s Edge
client list and the membership lists of the Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureau and
the Downtown Council. Included in the letter of invitation was a survey link to an on-line survey that
stakeholders who were not able to attend a session could provide their feedback electronically. Fifty-
five stakeholders completed the on-line survey.

A tour of the National Hockey Events Center on the St. Cloud University campus was provided by
Heather Weems, Director of Athletics. Discussions were held regarding the vision of the remodeling
and expansion project of the NHEC and how that vision may be complementary to the programming at
River’s Edge.

In preparation for assessing the food and beverage operations of the River’s Edge, Russ Ferguson
reviewed the following documents prior to the site visit:
       River’s Edge Food Caterer’s Rules and Regulations, Application and Permit
       Agreement for Catered Alcoholic Beverage Service

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        Agreement for Soft Drink, Bottled Water, Sport Drink Vending Machine Service and Soft Drink

As a part of the site visit, Mr. Ferguson visited with several staff members and participated in the
caterers and other focus group meetings. He met personally with the following individuals:
        Lu Yorek, Concessions Manager for River’s Edge
        Andy Prose, Holiday Inn Director of Food and Beverage
        Bonnie Rodness, CHA Director of Operations.
The Holiday Inn holds the exclusive contract to provide liquor services for the events at River’s Edge.
Mr. Ferguson toured the River’s Edge venue, specifically the kitchen, concession stands and service
areas. He observed the food preparation and servicing for various events occurring during the site

Numerous documents were gathered during these visits to assist the Project Team in the assessment.
These documents and the information gathered through the meetings, surveys, focus groups and
VenuWorks general observations will be referenced throughout this Assessment Report.

Information has been gathered from three convention centers that will be referenced in several areas
of this report to provide industry benchmarks to which the River’s Edge will be compared. These
centers are focused on meetings, conventions, social functions, trade and consumer shows. They also
offer similar amenities and an average community size similar to the River’s Edge and St. Cloud. The
venues include:
        Hurst Conference Center, Hurst, TX
        RiverCenter, Davenport, IA
        Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick, WA
For purposes of comparison, information from these three venues has been averaged for various
sections of this report.

In 2008 the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) conducted a Convention Center
Operating Expenses Benchmark Survey. Seventy-eight venues from throughout the United States and
Canada provided information related to requested benchmark categories. The venues were divided
into three categories; less than 100,000 sq ft exhibit space, 100,000 – 500,000 sq ft exhibit space and
greater than 500,000 sq ft exhibit space. Exhibit space was defined as exhibit hall, meeting rooms,
ballrooms and other sellable spaces. For the purposes of comparison of this information in relation to
the River’s Edge operation we have chosen the <100,000 sq ft exhibit space as the benchmark for
those areas of the report where this information has been applied.

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        In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
           Staffing
           Organizational Charts
           Reporting Structure
           Booking Guidelines
           Booking Calendar

The River’s Edge is a first-class venue and clients have an expectation of first-class service. For a
venue the size of the River’s Edge to be proactive, creative and client focused, it is imperative that the
staffing be at a level to provide the staff the opportunity to focus on their responsibilities.

The staff of the River’s Edge has both an exciting and challenging job. The staff frequently works
nights and weekends when activities at the venue are in high demand. They are also expected to
keep regular office hours during the week taking care of the day to day business of scheduling,
coordinating, marketing and billing. Recognizing this, in order to ensure a well-run operation, it is
important to review the full time staff organizational chart and responsibilities as well as the reporting
structure at the City level.

During the planning, construction and subsequent opening period of the expansion, the River’s Edge
experienced three significant management changes. Tom Henry, the Civic Center Manager, went on
medical leave in 2008 and passed away in July 2010. Bill Dunsmoor, who prior to this time was
Marketing/Events Coordinator, was appointed Acting Manager in 2008 and promoted to Civic Center
Manager in 2010. The position of Marketing/Events Coordinator has remained vacant since that time.
In December 2011, Lyle Mathiasen, Community Services & Facilities Director, retired. At the time of
his retirement, Mr. Mathiasen was extensively involved with the construction of the River’s Edge
expansion on the City’s behalf. In addition to his ongoing responsibilities, Bill Dunsmoor also assumed
many of the construction, pre-opening and opening responsibilities upon Mr. Mathiasen’s retirement.

Mr. Mathiasen had oversight responsibility for the River’s Edge Convention Center, the Paramount
Theatre, the MAC, Aging Services and Parks and Recreation. This is a diverse group of venues and
services that require a specific skill set to provide leadership and oversight. The City Administrator,
Mike Williams, has been evaluating the reporting structure of the venues and services under the
Community Services & Facilities Department Director. During this review period, each of the
Managers of these venues and services are reporting directly to Mr. Williams. This is a temporary
reporting structure and Mr. Williams anticipates that the recommendations of the Operational

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Assessment will assist him with evaluating how to best to fill the department Director position. For
background purposes, the Project Team toured the Paramount and MAC. While these venues share
some staffing and services with the River’s Edge, their operations were not evaluated as a part of the

During the focus group meetings, attendees acknowledged that while the River’s Edge nearly doubled
in size, the venue staff did not increase. They complimented the River’s Edge staff for the services
they have been able to provide under these circumstances and recognize that the staff is working long
hours and are dedicated to meeting the event demands with limited staffing resources. Many of the
staff members are long time employees of the River’s Edge and feel a strong loyalty to the venue and
pride in their past and present success. They have a strong commitment to the future success of the
venue on behalf of the community.

Currently the River’s Edge has seven full time positions:
        Community Services and Facilities Director (vacant)
        Civic Center Manager
        Marketing/Events Coordinator (vacant)
        Operations Technician Supervisor
        Operations Technicians (3)
        Office Supervisor
All of these positions, with the exceptions of the Civic Facilities Director and Civic Center Manager, are
union positions. As a part of the union agreement, these employees earn overtime rates after 8 hours
per day and after 40 hours per week. The comparative venues average is ten full time employees.

As a City department, the venue does not have a dedicated Finance or Human Resources staff
member. The Office Supervisor works closely with the City Finance and Human Resources department
on personnel, invoices, A/P and A/R. As the venue is hosting a very limited amount of ticketed
events, there is not a Ticket Office staff. Recently the venue partnered with the Paramount Theatre to
provide ticketing services. This partnership will be discussed later in this report in the Event
Management section.

Today’s meeting/convention business is very competitive. Meeting planners and clients have several
choices of venues and communities where they can book their business. To remain at the forefront of
this competitive business the venue should adopt a two-fold approach. First, the Manager must have
a “can do” attitude that includes empowering the staff to reach out and partner with organizations and
services to find ways to attract new business to the venue. Secondly, the venue staff must be trained
to maintain oversight of all aspects of the event in order to provide an exceptional experience to the
clients, from the first call to the venue through the entire event.

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The River’s Edge has a very active event load. Due to the current understaffing, employees are
challenged to meet the demands of their current business with very little time left to be an active
participant in pursuing new business. At the present time, the River’s Edge staff is primarily focused
on current clients and calls that come in to the venue. The CVB has taken the lead in actively
pursuing new local, regional or national convention and meeting business. The time commitment
required of Mr. Dunsmoor in assuming the responsibilities of the various vacant positions hampers his
ability to be proactive or have an active role in these outbound sales initiatives.

In the current economy it is more the norm to cut staff rather than add staff. The City of St. Cloud is
currently under a hiring freeze. For the River’s Edge, strategically filling the right positions with the
right people will generate an increased event load. The increased event load will generate additional
fees collected for services and increased lodging tax from new and bigger events. Being mindful of
the overtime expenses related to the union expenses, a well-trained part time staff can be further
developed to assist in meeting the increased demand of client’s needs and minimize the impact on the
operating expenses.

To accomplish the goal of the River’s Edge Mission Statement, three key full time positions should be
filled with personnel with experience in public assembly venues; Community Services & Facilities
Director, Sales and Marketing Coordinator and Event Coordinator.
       COMMUNITY SERVICES & FACILITIES DIRECTOR - This is a vital position to ensuring the
        River’s Edge functions at peak performance. The role of this Director involves public relations,
        finance and operations. This position is the link between the River’s Edge, the City of St.
        Cloud, stakeholders and the community. The vacancy of this position creates a significant
        leadership void in guiding the River’s Edge staff. It is recommended that the key attributes of
        the Community Services & Facilities Director include:
        o   Leader – Works with and empowers staff to establish and achieve measurable goals
        o   Visionary – Develops a thorough understanding of the River’s Edge operation to identify
            opportunities for partnerships, growth and effective management
        o   Positive Attitude – Ability to inspire staff when circumstances or situations are challenging
        o   Active Participant – Willingness to step in and take action when needed in the matters of
            policy, booking and management
        o   Collaborative Approach – Willingness to collaborate with other community amenities to
            present a “full package” to potential clients
        o   Experience – Extensive knowledge of the operations of public assembly venues.

       RIVER’S EDGE MANAGER - The current City job description for the River’s Edge Manager is
        very operationally based. The Manager should ultimately be responsible for the overall

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       management of the facility, providing leadership and direction to all departments and staff and
       should have an active hands-on role within the venue. However, direct supervision of
       maintenance and operations, scheduling and supervising conversion, technical and concession
       staff detracts from the time needed to develop new business and provide leadership. It is
       recommended that the essential duties and responsibilities of the venue Manager be revised to
       o   Develop and direct effective sales, marketing and operational programs for the successful
           future of the facility.
       o   Develop and implement policy recommendations.
       o   Work with Community Service & Facilities Director to have a thorough knowledge of the
           River’s Edge budget to assist in financial management, including budget development,
           financial projections and controls and personnel management.
       o   Ensure effective communication between Center’s staff, clients, service providers, City and
           community stakeholders through ongoing verbal and written reports.
       o   Identify, pursue and oversee programming for facility, including all facets of client
           relations to ensure a positive working relationship between the client and the venue.
       o   Ensure efficient and effective operations, including capital maintenance and improvement
       o   Ensure staff training is timely, effective and documented.
       o   Represent the facility in a positive manner to the community, convention and hospitality
           industries, community organizations and other agencies.
       o   Remain current of national trends in the industry and local market changes to best serve
           the facility. Establish and maintain relationships with industry influencers and key
           community and strategic partners for maximum facility usage and exposure.
       o   Act as the Manager on Duty, as assigned.

      SALES AND MARKETING COORDINATOR - It is recommended that the current position of
       Marketing and Events Coordinator be split into two separate positions. One position would be
       entitled Sales and Marketing Coordinator and the other position an Event Coordinator. It is
       further recommended that the Sales and Marketing Coordinator position be filled immediately.
       The current City job description for the Marketing and Events Coordinator encompasses many
       of the tasks of the recommended sales and marketing position. Upon securing the client’s
       business, the Sales and Marketing Coordinator would transition the client to the Event
       Coordinator who would then become the venue’s point of contact for the client and handle the
       event details. Other essential duties and responsibilities of the Sales and Marketing
       Coordinator should include:

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       o   Work in partnership with the Manager and the CVB to sell spaces and services in the
           River’s Edge for a variety of events, including conventions, conferences, trade shows,
           meetings and seminars.
       o   Organize prospect files of potential users and maintain regular communications with
           prospect list.
       o   Consult newspapers, trade journals, and other publications to learn about contemplated
           convention, social and meeting activity.
       o   In partnership with CVB, attend trade shows to promote River’s Edge, its capabilities and
           its services.
       o   Confer with department heads to discuss and formulate plans for soliciting business.
       o   Verify space reservations by letter, or draw up contacts and obtains signatures.
       o   Confer with building staff to plan function details such as space requirements, time
           schedule, food service, and decorations to ensure the venue can meet the client’s needs.
       o   Act as the Manager on Duty, as assigned.

       o   Research, analyze, and monitor financial, technological, and demographic factors to
           capitalize on market opportunities, both local and national, and minimize effects of
           competitive activity. Oversee and evaluate market research and adjust marketing
           strategy to meet changing market and competitive conditions. Conduct marketing surveys
           on current and new concepts, and provide feedback for future development.
       o   Develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans and programs, both short and long
           range, to support sales and revenue objectives of the facility.
       o   Work in partnership with the CVB to develop and direct the implementation of advertising
           and publicity and social media to create local, regional, and national awareness of the
       o   Supervise and participate in all sales functions of the building, including convention,
           meeting and advertising sales.
       o   Book and contract events in such a way as to maximize facility usage and achieve revenue
       o   Oversee development and production of promotional and collateral materials for facility.
           Establish and maintain a consistent venue image throughout all promotional materials,
           and events.
       o   Aggressively seek new contacts and maintain working relationships with all media
           representatives, civic and industry organizations, corporate promotional contracts, and
           event and booking representatives. Serve as liaison with outside agencies on ongoing
           promotional campaigns.

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       o   Ensure effective control of marketing results. Take corrective action to guarantee that
           marketing objectives are achieved within designated budgets. Develop and manage
           marketing operating budget along with participating in the annual facility budget
       o   Remain current on national trends in the industry and local market changes to best serve
           the facility. Establish and maintain relationships with industry influencers and key
           community and strategic partners for maximum facility usage and exposure.

      EVENT COORDINATOR - Currently the position of Event Coordinator is filled by a part time
       employee and a 6-month contract employee. Mr. Dunsmoor is also sharing a significant
       amount of this responsibility. A full-time position of Event Coordinator should be filled
       immediately. A second full-time position of Event Coordinator should be budgeted for 2014 or
       2015 and the position filled based on event demand. In the interim, the second position could
       remain a part time position. The Event Coordinator’s essential duties and responsibilities
       should include:
       o   Work with the clients, Sales and Marketing Coordinator and the River’s Edge Manager to
           gather event information and ensure that event setups are accurate for all events.
       o   Be the point of contact for the client once the event contract is executed.
       o   Work with the client and all pertinent venue staff to ensure that the client’s needs are
           addressed in a timely and professional manner.
       o   Develop a working knowledge of a computer assisted drawing program in order to design
           event layouts.
       o   Manage the hiring, training and scheduling of all patron services and part-time staff and
       o   Implement and maintain proper scheduling and supervision of contract services, including
           caterer, decorator and other service providers for all events.
       o   Oversee concessions operation and staff.
       o   Review and implement policies and procedures for event services and make
           recommendations to River’s Edge Manager for modifications as appropriate.
       o   Maintain on-going relationships and communication with clients, service providers and
       o   Participate in development of annual budgets; monitor and manage on-going event
           services expenses within budget.
       o   Monitor and maintain facility compliance with City, State and Federal requirements,
           making appropriate recommendations for services.
       o   Act as the Manager on Duty, as assigned.

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      OPERATIONS MANAGER - Typically, a venue the size of the River’s Edge will have an
       operations lead person such as a Director of Operations or Operations Manager. The venue
       currently has an Operations Supervisor but this position is mostly limited to leading the event
       set ups and maintenance. An Operations Manager would be responsible for working with the
       Event Coordinators and Marketing and Sales Coordinator in planning the setups, scheduling
       the conversion and maintenance crews, scheduling training and managing the operations
       budget. At the River’s Edge the facility manager performs all of these tasks and the bulk of
       the event coordination. The current position of Operations Supervisor should be realigned to
       include the responsibilities of a typical Operations Manager. The Operations Manager should
       supervise and coordinate the planning, oversight, evaluation and operational needs of all
       events and workers engaged in converting the facility to accommodate ongoing building event
       load, custodial services, maintenance, mechanical reports, preventative maintenance and
       repair plans, development and coordination of service contracts and projects. Essential duties
       and responsibilities would include but not be limited to:
       o   Hire, train, supervise and evaluate skilled and semi-skilled workers engaged in setup,
           operation, and tear down of event related equipment, maintenance and custodial services.
       o   Integrate the conversion and maintenance activities with the customer service and
           programming activities of the facilities.
       o   Inspect and evaluate physical condition of facility and equipment to keep building up to
           date and report recommendations of updates to venue Manager.
       o   Monitor expenses; prepare budgets for labor, materials and services necessary for
           conversion, maintenance and custodial activities.
       o   Maintain relationships with various agencies (contractors, fire inspection, elevator,
           sprinklers, etc.) to accomplish compliance with codes and to resolve building maintenance
           needs and concerns.
       o   Assign work projects to staff and provide direction to improve methods and productivity.
       o   Analyze event information to meet users’ equipment and service needs, prepare staff
           schedules and work plans for setup, operation, and tear down crews.
       o   Analyze operations data and recommend building modification, updated equipment, or
           changes in operating procedures to maximize energy efficiency.
       o   Establish and execute preventive maintenance on all equipment and systems to ensure
           proper working order and carry out repairs where needed. Develop and maintain
           necessary records and reports such as: equipment and supply inventories, accident and
           damage reports, monthly expense and activity reports, and personnel records.
       o   Supervise/perform ground maintenance by picking up trash on grounds, remove snow
           from doorways/walkways, and spread ice melting materials, as needed.
       o   Assist in and oversee that maintenance activities are executed in a safe and professional

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        o   Oversee that all events are coordinated and executed in a professional and safe manner.
        o   Act as the Manager on Duty, as assigned.

       PART TIME STAFF - Part time staff is hired through the River’s Edge and not through the City
        of St. Cloud. Although the River’s Edge uses the City application, other hiring guidelines that
        the City uses are in place at the River’s Edge. Part time staff members are not required to
        sign off on a Code of Conduct and at present background checks are not completed. It is
        recommended that:
        o   The River’s Edge develop a Code of Conduct that all part time staff must acknowledge
            receipt of and adhere to the guidelines.
        o   Currently, the River’s Edge is working on a policy for conducting background checks. This
            procedure should be developed and implemented as soon as possible.

The charts on the following pages reflect the current organizational structure and the recommended
revisions that are listed above.

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The chart listed below was copied from the River’s Edge FY11 Annual Report. At the time of the
Assessment, the River’s Edge also had two part time Event Coordinators. Those positions are not
reflected on the current organizational chart.

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As the City evaluates the most effective reporting structure for their community venues and services,
we would offer the following for consideration. Public assembly facilities such as the River’s Edge, the
Paramount and the MAC are unique in their operations from that of a community service venue such
as Aging Services. The River’s Edge and the Paramount must work within a very competitive
environment constantly negotiating rental rates and services that meet both the needs of the client
and venue’s budget. While the River’s Edge has a supply of rooms and equipment, how those spaces
and equipment blend one into the other differ with each event. Clients utilizing the Paramount need
ticketing, marketing and technical services. Patrons attending events at the River’s Edge and
Paramount have a high expectation of facility amenities and their needs may differ depending on the

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event. The City Department Head hired to oversee these venues will require a very diverse set of
skills to continue under the current reporting structure.

As noted in the table below, many communities like St. Cloud manage their community venues within
the City department structure. Often there is an advisory board established as a liaison between the
venues and the City. The Board works closely with the venue and helps the City develop policies and
budgets. Due to the unique nature of public assembly facilities, many communities have partnered
with private management companies to provide the expertise and experience they felt was needed to
ensure success of these important community assets.

       ADVISORY BOARD - The City of St. Cloud has several Advisory Boards which provide citizens
        the opportunity to become actively involved in city affairs. At the present time there is not an
        Advisory Board associated with the River’s Edge. Advisory Boards for public assembly venues
        are generally created to provide recommendations to the City Council on projects, programs,
        policy and expenditure of funds. Board members are relied upon to provide expertise in
        strategic planning, development of the annual budget in accordance with the Business &
        Marketing Plan and serve as public relation ambassadors for the venue. The Board is intended
        to maintain a connection between the venue and the City Council. The creation of an Advisory
        Board for River’s Edge may provide the venue and the City with a group of community
        stakeholders who have an in-depth understanding of the important role the River’s Edge plays
        in the community. An Advisory Board can provide advice and support on key issues and assist
        the River’s Edge in developing a long-term strategic plan along with annual goals and
        objectives to achieve the plan.

       PRIVATE MANAGEMENT - Several cities, counties, universities and other owners of public
        assembly facilities have privatized the operations of their public assembly facilities. As
        managers of public assembly facilities throughout the United States, VenuWorks believes that
        as the City evaluates the current reporting structure, staff vacancies and recommendations of
        this Report, private management may be a viable option for the River’s Edge. As the

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       Paramount Theatre and the River’s Edge have similar operating parameters, private
       management may also be an option for the Paramount Theatre. The private management
       company is typically an independent contractor of the public body that owns the venue. The
       firm is primarily responsible for:
       o   Organization structure, leadership, employee staffing and administration/job classifications
       o   Maintaining and promoting the attributes and competitiveness of the venue including
           scheduling and event booking
       o   Marketing and sales of commercial rights such as advertising, sponsorships and premium
           seating sales
       o   Fiscal record keeping and financial accounting
       o   Client relationships
       o   Staff training
       o   Food and beverage service
       o   Ticketing and box office
       o   Purchasing
       o   Security
       o   Parking
       o   Routine janitorial cleaning and preventative maintenance
       o   Implementation of capital repairs budgets and programs.

       A summary of potential advantages associated with private management include:
       o   Network booking capability, bringing to bear the booking strength of several comparable
           venues in a given market area or region to benefit the programming of each venue.
       o   Volume purchasing power through the company’s network of venues, for products and
           services for such things as liability insurance, equipment and ticketing services.
       o   Operating systems that the firms have developed and perfected over the course of
           working in many markets in similar venues.
       o   Management expertise from a central corporate staff with specialists in marketing,
           production, personnel, ticketing, sales, programming and food/beverage.
       o   Performance accountability of the company to provide results as agreed to in the
           management contract.
       o   Transparency of operation and financial management in that these firms are required to
           submit annual budgets, and report monthly on actual financial outcomes compared to the
           budget. Private management companies are committed to the bottom line of the venue
           with a focus on increased revenues and contained expenses.
       o   Liability transfer as the management company takes on employee liability, theft liability,
           and general liability for claims from patrons and users of the venue.

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       o      Reduced financial risk for the ownership entity through risk mitigation by the management
       o      Efficiencies are increased as a result of the venue being part of a much larger
       o      Personnel management is improved by being transferred to the management company.
              That in turn allows for the introduction of HR procedures, operating manuals, training
              programs and performance evaluation procedures that have been perfected specifically for
              the public assembly management industry.
       o      Venue staff members have greater opportunities for professional growth and advancement
              within the system. They have peer group contacts who provide knowledge sharing and
              problem solving.
       o      Control over the operation for the public entity actually becomes easier, and more
              effective, because there is one entity – the management company – to hold accountable.

       As the River’s Edge is a City-owned venue, should the City chose to pursue the private
       management option, the St. Cloud City Administrator indicated that the City would issue an
       RFQ to vendors who provide these services and the process would follow City guidelines for
       securing professional services.

The current Booking Guidelines for River’s Edge state the following:
      Traditional, annual consumer shows that have played the Civic Center since 1989, such as
       Home Show, Farm Show, etc., will be allowed to keep the dates that are as close as possible
       to their original 1989 dates.
      Other consumer shows such as craft sales, computer sales, etc., may be booked 12 months
      The Civic Center shall protect consumer shows with a 60-day prior and 30-day following
      One day, one room meetings will only be booked one year out.
      One day, multiple room type events, such as Pamper the Provider, may be booked more than
       one year out.
      Meetings, conferences, trade shows using multiple days, multiple rooms may be booked as far
       as seven years out.
      Meetings that meet every year shall take priority over one-year type bookings.
      Social and entertainment events shall only be booked one year out.

At the time of the CSL study update dated January 2, 2006, CSL indicated that during their evaluation
in 2004 the exhibit hall space was at 78% occupancy. They further stated that based on industry

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standards, occupancy levels in the 70 – 90% range indicate strong utilization. The study stated that
there was a strong indication that Civic Center events were growing larger and thus the need for
expansion to accommodate this growth. As the expansion of the River’s Edge has only been open
since January 2012, survey respondents and focus group attendees indicated they are looking forward
to familiarizing themselves with the new space and discussing how to grow their events. While a few
of the consumer shows grew this year, others wanted to see how the space worked before making any

The challenge that faces many convention centers is how to balance annual consumer shows and the
opportunities to attract larger conventions that may need the same space the consumer shows are
occupying. Consumer shows typically rely on the same dates (same weekend/same month) each year
to maintain their exhibitor base and attract a strong following of patrons. For the River’s Edge,
consumer shows generate over $100,000 in base rent which the venue can rely on when building its
annual budget. Although consumer shows on average only make up 5% of the River’s Edge budget, it
is the time of year they occur that causes challenges when trying to secure new business.
Traditionally the busiest months for consumers shows are January – March and show producers want
to lock in their dates for as far out as the venue will allow. These shows travel from one community to
the next so have limited flexibility in changing their dates. While the exhibitors may be contributing to
the economic impact of the community, often times the patrons do not as they are generally local or
regional and come to the downtown for just the purpose of the attending the show.

Conventions on the other hand typically generate a significant amount of economic impact.
Convention attendees are in the community for multiple days, staying at hotels, eating, shopping and
enjoying the various attractions the community has to offer. In 2011 convention/trade show business
accounted for 12% of the River’s Edge events and over $250,000 base rent. Conventions book from
two-four years out and while some conventions are annual, most rotate their business among various
cities, thus making the revenue generated from these events less reliable for budgeting purposes than
consumer shows.

There are currently eight consumer shows that have priority dates in the River’s Edge calendar
annually. While these shows occur from January through April, the majority happen to fall in
February. At the present time there are few, if any, February dates open to new business.

Tammy Koolbeck, VenuWorks Senior Vice President, recently attended IAVM’s International
Convention Center Conference and posed the question of consumer shows and conventions to some of
the attendees. Consistently the response was that room nights take priority. Many of the venue
representatives indicated that their booking policy for consumer shows guarantee the dates one year

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out. The guidelines provide that should a consumer show have to move off their traditional dates, the
venue will guarantee them a date within four weeks, either side, of their original dates. Financial
considerations may be afforded to the consumer show as their move allowed the venue to secure
additional business. The current booking guidelines for the River’s Edge also states that consumer
show dates will not be confirmed until 12 months with the exception of consumer shows that have
been grandfathered in due to longevity.
       River’s Edge should review their booking policy as it relates to the current grandfathered
        consumer shows and the opportunities the expansion provides for additional bookings.
        o   For those current events that have been grandfathered into the current booking policy, a
            compromise initially might be that consumer shows cannot secure additional space in the
            venue until a year prior to their event. The River’s Edge would have the flexibility to keep
            the additional space in reserve for convention business until 12 months out each year.

A public assembly facility’s booking calendar is the life-line of the venue. The calendar provides
historical information, current events and a plan of events for the future. In the past these booking
calendars were a bound paper book that needed to be stored in a safe, locked location as there was
no “back up” available.

The early versions of electronic calendars were cumbersome to operate and cost prohibitive. The
majority of venues opted to stay with the paper booking calendar. Today there are many electronic
calendar versions available which range in price from free to the “cadillac” versions. River’s Edge still
maintains their booking calendar in a paper version. There is one large calendar book which is kept in
Mr. Dunsmoor’s office. While the staff feels comfortable booking the venue using this method, in
today’s electronic world this method is outdated. The expansion of the River’s Edge offers a wide
range of rooms that can be more effectively managed to maximize the usage of all spaces through an
electronic calendar rather than a paper calendar.

Managing the booking calendar is a process that requires thorough knowledge of not only the venue
spaces but also how long load ins, conversions and load outs will take. Consideration has to be given
as to how vendors will utilize the loading docks and kitchens as well as how patrons from one event
may impact patrons from another event. These and many other event planning aspects must be
considered when evaluating whether the specific date(s) a client is looking at is available for their use.
Just because a date may be open on the booking calendar does not necessarily mean it will work for
every event. To be successful in today’s meeting and convention business, those handling the
booking calendar must be able to evaluate the nuances of each event and then have a creative
approach and team that can look at every opportunity to secure events and maximize the usage of all

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parts of the venue. Because of these factors, there is often reluctance to share booking calendar
information over concern that a client will be given incorrect information about date availability.
In St. Cloud, a Convention and Visitors Marketing Agreement exists between the City of St. Cloud and
the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB. This Agreement is a guide for conducting
communications between the CVB and the City of St. Cloud. The Agreement, most recently updated
in February 2010, states, “The services provided by the Chamber/CVB are to promote the St. Cloud
Civic Center and the City as a convention, trade show, and conference site. These efforts are to
“achieve maximum occupancy in the Civic Center and local hotel/motel facilities.” The CVB has
established an aggressive 2012 Strategic Work Plan and Marketing Plan focused on promoting the
expansion of the River’s Edge to all meeting segments.

When the Project Team started this assessment, Mr. Dunsmoor was the only staff member that was
authorized to discuss date availability and put dates on hold. An effective sales person knows that
you must capture the client in the moment that they are either on the phone or touring the venue.
The more information you can share, the better opportunity to secure that piece of business for St.
Cloud. As referenced earlier in this assessment report, the lack of staffing in key areas requires Mr.
Dunsmoor to assume additional responsibilities. This work load results in less than timely responses
to the CVB and other potential clients looking to rent the River’s Edge for their events. Since this
assessment began, Sue Thompson (part time Event Coordinator for the River’s Edge) has also been
given authority to enter dates in the booking calendar and confirm events.

The Project Team recommends that the River’s Edge convert to an electronic booking calendar as soon
as possible. The benefits of an electronic calendar are far reaching and the concerns over making sure
the venue is booked properly can be effectively managed through established policies and procedures.
       CALENDAR SYSTEMS- There are several providers of electronic calendar systems for public
        assembly venues. Generally there is an initial cost for the system based on the number of
        users and then “modules” can be added to customize the software to adapt to the venue’s
        event activity and required reports. The systems have the capability to track the client
        activity from the time the call comes into the venue through the client evaluation form at the
        end of the event. Client communication components of the packages of some of the software
        offer the functionality of producing contracts, tracking client communications and event
        requirements which can then be compiled into a final invoice. The information generated
        through the systems provides the venue Manager with tools to evaluate event and client
        history for budgeting, marketing and planning purposes.

        o   VenuWorks has experience with EBMS by Ungerboeck, Concentrix, Event Booking and
            Fastbook. Each of these systems offers a wide range of services. It is imperative that

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            each potential product is researched thoroughly, including discussions with industry
            references provided by the vendors, to ensure the product selected meets the River’s Edge
            specific long-term goals.

       CALENDAR ACCESS - Electronic calendar systems provide a wide range of access to users
        from “read only” to “full access”. Discussions will need to be held with venue and CVB staff
        with regard to what level of access each individual will be given. Additionally, within the
        venue, decisions will need to be made with regard to who can provide a client with available
        dates, who can hold dates and who can confirm dates. The Project Team recommends that
        calendar access be limited to the venue and the CVB. The type of access for the venue and
        the CVB are listed below.
        o   Venue Access – In addition to Mr. Dunsmoor, there should be at a minimum one other
            staff member that has been trained on booking the venue and has the authority to give
            potential clients available dates, place dates on hold in the calendar and confirm events. A
            policy and procedure should be established through which client date requests are
            responded to within 24 business hours.
        o   CVB Access – In discussions with the CVB they indicated they certainly understand the
            complexity of booking the venue and the variables that may affect open and available
            dates and are most interested in “read only” access. Included in the Appendices section of
            this report is an example of a “Request for Date Availability”. The intent of this document
            is that the CVB would complete the form and submit it electronically to their River’s Edge
            booking contact. River’s Edge will review the information and respond to the CVB within
            24 business hours as to whether or not the date request can be accommodated.

During focus group meetings some hotel representatives and caterers expressed an interest in
accessing the venue booking calendar. While coordination with the hotels and service providers is
important in meeting the clients’ needs, the venue needs to maintain control of the calendar to ensure
that they have the opportunity to work with each potential client to find the right dates for their event.
Therefore, additional access to the calendar beyond the venue and the CVB is not recommended.
With full venue staffing, the CVB, clients and vendors will be able to receive a timely response from
the venue to address their specific questions regarding events and availability.

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         In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
             History
             Client Use Agreement
             Advancing and Servicing Events
             Event Coordination
             Event Set Up Diagrams
             Event Staff
             Parking
             Traffic Control
             Ticket Office and Ticketing

The IAVM 2008 Benchmark Survey provides the following information related to annual attendance
and events.

The Project Team compared the number of events for the River’s Edge through two different methods:
        Looking back from 2005 – 2011, the River’s Edge has averaged 371 events per year, with the
         exception of 2009 and 2010. Industry wide, due to the economy, convention center business
         took a downward turn in 2009 and 2010. The events at the River’s Edge reflect that same
         downturn with an average dropping to 281 events for those years.
        The 2008 IAVM Survey for venues <100,000 sq ft of exhibit space shows an average annual
         attendance of 219,802 and 438 events. To take into account the industry wide downtown in
         event activity in 2009 and 2010, for comparison purposes the Project Team utilized the River’s
         Edge 2007 year end numbers. In 2007, the River’s Edge had an annual attendance of
         175,210 with 391 events which is in line with the industry averages according to the 2008

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       To bring the information current, for FY11 the average number events for the comparative
        venues reflect 328 events and the River’s Edge hosted 331 events.
       While the River’s Edge event total was slightly higher than the average, the number of event
        days those events utilized the venue was significantly less. Event days are calculated by how
        many days each event is in the building, including move in and move out. For example a
        meeting would typically count for one event and one event day, a convention may count for
        one event and three or four event days. For FY11, the comparative average was 562 event
        days and the River’s Edge reflected 471 event days.
       FY12 River’s Edge event projections reflect a 6% increase over 2011 actuals.

The current River’s Edge Convention Center Usage Agreement is a four-part carbonless form printed
on legal sized paper. Due to the design of the Agreement, information is filled in on a manual
typewriter. The Agreement is not computerized. Clients attending the focus group sessions and
responding to the on-line survey referred to the contracting process as cumbersome and antiquated.

The Usage Agreement should be converted to a computerized document. This upgrade could be
handled through a module of the electronic booking software. Many of today’s clients prefer to handle
much of their event paperwork via e-mail. For repeat clients, it is much more efficient to be able to
retrieve a previous year’s contract, make any necessary changes and then mail or e-mail the contract
to the client.
       TERM OF “LESSEE” – Recently there has been discussion through the International Association
        of Venue Managers regarding the use of the term Lessee in client use agreements. It was felt
        that the term Lessee implied certain unintended rights for the client. A common reference has
        been to simply use the term “Client”. Paragraph 2 under the current Agreement’s General
        Terms and Conditions may eliminate this concern. However, this is a topic that should be
        reviewed with St. Cloud’s City Attorney to ensure the Agreement does not imply more rights
        than those that are actually afforded to the Client.

       EVENT CANCELLATION CLAUSE – Section 25(A) of the current Agreement states that all rights
        not expressly granted herewith to Lessee are reserved to River’s Edge, which provides
        unlimited protections to River’s Edge. However, it is recommended that a clause in the
        contract specifically outlines the promoter and venue understanding regarding event
        cancellation, suspension and evacuation protocols.

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Focus group attendees and on-line survey respondents were asked several questions related to their
experience with the River’s Edge. In this section of the report, we will focus on the client’s responses
related to event coordination. In subsequent sections of the report we will focus on caterers,
community and decorator responses.

The on-line survey results indicate an overall positive experience from survey respondents. The
charts below reflect how the respondents rated their interactions with the venue staff in three specific
areas. (“N/A” responses are not depicted.)

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With regard to the River’s Edge, clients rated the venue and services as follows.

When asked their overall perception of the facility, 66.6% rated the venue as excellent or above

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Focus group attendees also expressed several positive comments about the staff and the venue.
However, several concerns were expressed from survey respondents, focus group attendees and
stakeholders about negative client experiences when working with the River’s Edge staff and the
venue. The following comments were expressed by more than one person:
       Feel that the building is understaffed.
       Staff is hard to find when they are needed during an event. Staff does not always respond to
        cell phone or radio calls. Client has to walk the venue to track them down.
       Concerns about parking.
       Major issues with sound system in Glenn Carlson.
       There is not an event coordinator on site during the event, lead maintenance is contact
        person. This is challenging for the client because the maintenance person may be in another
        part of the venue working on a different project and not readily available to be attentive to the
        client’s requests.
       Building CAD’s (room set up drawings) are not done by the venue; clients and decorators have
        to create their own floor plan for use during the event.
       A meeting with the building, client, caterer and decorator and any other outside vendors
        (police, a/v, etc.) is needed to ensure all event details are communicated.
       No building staff on site other than maintenance during events to help patrons and guests.
       Clients are always changing things up to continue to improve and keep their events new.
        However, the Center staff sometimes is not open-minded in working with the clients to
        brainstorm new ideas.
       Building does not negotiate on any charges.

In discussing the event coordination process with River’s Edge staff, the Project Team was told that
once Mr. Dunsmoor issues the contract, the client then either remains working with Mr. Dunsmoor or
is assigned to one of the two part time event coordinators. The client works with their assigned
coordinator throughout the planning process. Once the client begins to move into the venue, the
event coordinator is no longer involved (other than to greet the client and periodically check in) and a
lead maintenance worker is assigned to the client. The lead maintenance person has responsibilities
throughout the venue in addition to working with the clients; i.e. cleaning, conversions, equipment
repair, etc. This dual responsibility can be very challenging for both the client and the staff person.

It is recommended that the responsibilities of the Event Coordinator be extended to include additional
client contact throughout the event. To supplement the Event Coordinator, rather than routinely
assigning one of the operations staff as a point of contact during the times the event is in process, the
venue should institute a Manager on Duty (MOD) program.

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       EVENT COORDINATOR - One of the two Event Coordinators should be assigned to each event
        throughout the total client experience. This will provide one point of contact that is
        knowledgeable about the client’s event and authorized to make any necessary adjustments to
        meet their needs. This arrangement would also allow for the venue Manager to receive
        reports from the Event Coordinators related to specific events without actually having to
        manage the event details. The Event Coordinator job description is listed in the Administrative
        section of this report. The Event Coordinator may serve as the MOD of the venue when
        required. It is also the responsibility of the Event Coordinator to ensure that all assigned
        MOD’s are introduced to the client and thoroughly briefed about the event.

       MANAGER ON DUTY - A “Manager on Duty” program should be implemented to provide a
        consistently high level of customer service to clients, patrons and vendors. A MOD program
        consists of full time and key trained part time staff taking a rotation of assignments to be the
        point person for the client during the run of their event. While often times the MOD may be
        able to answer the question or solve the concern of the client, more importantly they are the
        client’s one consistent point of contact during the shift of the MOD. If the MOD cannot solve
        the client’s concerns, it is the MOD’s responsibility to contact the appropriate venue staff and
        ensure that the issues are resolved, as opposed to having the client seek out available staff.
        When the MOD shift changes, it is the staff’s responsibility to communicate the current status
        of the event with each other and the departing MOD and incoming MOD meet with the client to
        ensure the lines of communicate are clear. The MOD is also responsible for ensuring that in
        case of an emergency the venue’s Emergency Action Plan (discussed further in the Safety &
        Security section of this report) is implemented and followed.

Currently, the venue delegates the responsibility for developing event set up diagrams to the client
and/or decorator. Industry wide, the venue typically takes control of this event planning tool. The
venue knows its equipment inventory and how the patrons need to move throughout the facility. The
venue also holds the responsibility of ensuring that all event set ups are in compliance with building,
fire and safety regulations.

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As the River’s Edge has greater opportunities to host multiple events, by taking control of the event
set up diagrams, the staff can efficiently maximize the venue spaces.
       COMPUTER PROGRAM - As with any computer programs, event set up software ranges from
        basic to complex. VenuWorks has experience with the following software drawing programs:
        CAD, Smart Draw and Google SketchUp. Google SketchUp is free of charge and the other
        programs average in price of approximately $500.
        o   It is important to ensure that the diagrams can be drawn to scale. There are some
            drawing programs on the market that provide the capability to diagram a room but the
            drawings are not to scale. This type of program will lead to confusion and frustration on
            both the part of the staff and the client.

       USAGE - The River’s Edge should train all the event coordinators and the Operations Manager
        on the room set up software.
        o   Venue staff should meet with the client, caterer, decorator and any other event service
            providers to ensure that all aspects of the event are incorporated into the final diagram.
        o   Typically the client is not charged for the initial event diagram with up to two revisions
            included. Additional revisions are charged at an hourly rate.

The River’s Edge does not provide in-house security staff during events, with the exception of touring
entertainment events. For certain events, the client coordinates with the St. Cloud Police Department
to provide security. These security arrangements seem to be effective as no complaints were voiced
to the Project Team.

The expansion of the River’s Edge creates the opportunity to host multiple, simultaneous events. This
opportunity also presents challenges related to controlling access between events, directing patrons to
the right location and ensuring that non-authorized persons do not access restricted areas.

       DOCK MASTER – If more than one show is moving in or out of the venue at a time, a part time
        staff member should be assigned to the area to be the “dock master”. This person will assist
        the clients and vendors in getting to the correct rooms and ensures that the docks and parking
        spaces remain accessible. The hourly charge for the dock master can be split among the
       GUEST SERVICES – As a service to the patrons attending events at the River’s Edge, the
        Center should adopt a “Red Coats” Guest Services program. This program would serve
        multiple purposes:

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        o   A booth or table should be visibly located in the main lobby area and staffed during peak
            event hours.
        o   The staff person should be thoroughly knowledgeable of the venue (location of various
            exhibit halls and meeting rooms, restrooms, concession stands or vending machines, etc.).
            Additionally, this person should be familiar with the downtown and the community
            (location of restaurants, shops, attractions and various types of businesses). Visitor
            guides, brochures and maps should be readily available to provide to patrons. This person
            needs to be engaging and approachable. They will need to reach out to patrons that
            appear lost and offer their assistance.
                        It is very common for the Guest Services position to be filled by community
                         volunteers. At the focus group sessions attendees stated that there are many
                         retired educators in the community as well as a RSVP organization. A program
                         could be developed to engage these volunteers and provide them training to
                         be the Ambassadors of the venue and community.
                        Typically the Event Coordinator would be responsible for organizing the
                         volunteer groups.
        o   When the booth is not staffed, it should be designed in a “self-service” manner in which
            patrons can easily find handouts, brochures or posters outlining the community amenities
            St. Cloud offers to its visitors.

With the recent expansion of the River’s Edge, it is anticipated the event load will continue to increase
as will the demand for convenient parking by patrons, clients and vendors. The City, downtown
merchants and venue staff all realize the need for additional parking near the River’s Edge. Focus
group attendees and survey respondents also commented about the lack of parking. The venue’s
collaterals state patrons have access to 1,500 parking spots within 4 blocks of the building including
700 spaces “connected to the facility”. A new 300 stall parking ramp has been planned and project
funding requested through the State of Minnesota.

The ramp would be located on the property across North 5th Avenue from the Center. This additional
ramp is intended to alleviate parking shortages that occur in the area when large events are hosted at
the venue. Unfortunately, due to funding decisions at the State level, funding was not awarded for
this project and for the foreseeable future this property will provide surface parking only. This greatly
diminishes its potential capacity compared to that realized with a multi-story ramp. The Governor and
local Legislators stated the project would be a top priority in the legislature next year. In the
meantime, the City is focusing on increasing awareness of existing parking lots and ramps.

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During interviews and focus group meetings, the Project Team was informed that some residents were
unaware of the 336 spaces in the ramp located under the Rivers’ Edge. The Project Team was also
told that the ramp often times is underutilized even during large events.

Focus group attendees also expressed frustration with ramp management personnel for not being
customer service oriented, unreasonable payment requirements and long delays entering and exiting
the ramp for some events. The common opinion is that a good portion of facility users prefer the
convenience of street level parking as opposed to parking in the two levels below the venue. On
weekends there is no charge for street parking. Downtown merchants expressed frustration that
venue attendees take advantage of this no cost parking to the detriment of their customers who then
cannot find parking near their stores.

It is recommended that a plan be developed to specifically increase awareness of the parking ramp
under the River’s Edge. Full utilization of the River’s Edge ramp wouldn’t negate the need to build the
new ramp but it should offer some relief during certain events. Wayfinding signage and traffic control
devices should be improved to make it easier for first time visitors to locate the ramp and obtain event
information before driving down into the ramp and being caught in line. First time visitors can also be
confused about the fact that one drive serves as the entrance for both the hotels’ private parking
ramp to the right and the River’s Edge separate parking ramp to the left.
       INFORMATION/PARKING CONTROL BOOTH - VenuWorks recommends exploring the idea of
        establishing an information/parking control booth outside the ramp at the top of the drive. At
        a minimum, a staff person could perform this function during peak event hours without
        installing the booth.
        o   This booth could be staffed during larger events by a venue employee trained in customer
            service. When not staffed, signage at this booth could direct patrons to the existing
            booths at the lower level entrance to the ramp.
        o   The overhead signage at this upper booth should clearly state “Event Parking Entrance” or
            “Event Parking Information” as well as the related fees and method of payment. Fees
            could still be collected at the lower booth.
        o   A turn around lane just after the booth and before the top of the drive to the ramp would
            provide an exit route for patrons who choose not to enter the ramp after obtaining
            information or needing to leave to get correct change.
        o   The current parking lots at the top of the ramp driveway may have to be redesigned in
            order to implement this recommendation.
        o   The cost of implementation may not be justified if plans for building the new ramp on 5th
            Avenue come to fruition.

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        o   Even if only used as a temporary solution, a booth attendant interacting with patrons
            could serve to increase public awareness of the ramp and improve customer service.

During interviews and focus group meetings the Project Team was informed of the lack of coordination
between the event staff and the local police regarding traffic control for certain past events. When
large events are hosted, arriving and departing attendees cause increased traffic congestion in the
area around the venue. (Note: After reviewing a draft of the report, Mr. Dunsmoor stated that staff
works with SCPD and traffic control in conjunction with their large events to help with load-in/load out
parking etc. He further stated that most clients do not want to incur the added cost for such services.
He also stated they work with clients to set-up scheduled load-in/load out times for vendors to
minimize the traffic impact around the center when at all possible.)

It is recommended that the venue’s Event Coordinator work with the police department and traffic
control authorities to ensure a clear understanding of event dates and times, type of event, estimated
attendance and traffic control responsibilities for both pedestrians and motorists. It is incumbent upon
the River’s Edge staff to ensure that the venue is accessible, signage is adequate to direct patrons and
all parties involved are working together on this important element of event planning.

While the venue was once the location for concerts, comedians and wide range of traveling
entertainment events, Mr. Dunsmoor indicated that most of those shows are now appearing at the
casinos in the area. The River’s Edge still hosts these events when the promoters contact the venue,
but the venue does not aggressively pursue this programming segment.

The River’s Edge does not have a current ticketing system or contract with a ticketing company to
provide these services. During the summer of 2012, the River’s Edge hosted a country concert and
partnered with the Paramount Theatre for ticketing services. Both Mr. Dunsmoor and Mr. Goddard,
Executive Director of the Paramount Theatre, felt this partnership worked well.

As the River’s Edge and Paramount Theatre further these discussions, it is recommended that a formal
written agreement be developed between the two organizations.
       ELEMENTS OF WRITTEN AGREEMENT - The agreement should include, but not be limited to:
        o   Amount of facility fees that will be paid to River’s Edge.
        o   Box office fees to be collected by Paramount Theatre to cover the costs of staffing and
            ticket stock.

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       o   Availability of funds at time of settlement.
       o   Refund procedure due to a show cancellation; when, where and how do patrons receive
           their money back.

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5.       FINANCE
         In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
            Funding
            Financial Benchmarks
            Forecasting
            Profit and Loss Statements / Rental Rates

The River’s Edge derives its operating revenue from the fees charged to clients for room rental and
services as well as 40% of the City of St. Cloud lodging tax revenue on an annual basis. These
revenue sources not only offset the costs of operating the River’s Edge, there is also an annual
allocation of approximately $250,000 to the Paramount Theatre for its operational budget. With these
revenue sources, over the last several years, the River’s Edge has reflected an annual profit.

The River’s Edge is currently in the first full year of operation with the expansion. Therefore, a year-
end financial report was not available at the time of this report to compare to projections listed in the
CSL report. The Project Team reviewed the River’s Edge year-to-date information (through August
2012) for evaluation of increased revenues and expenses for the initial operating period:

River’s Edge Convention Center FY11 Budget - Indicators of Success
        Host 40 or more major conferences/conventions/trade shows ~ Actual meetings/conferences
         122 and convention/trade shows 39
        Host 330 or more events ~ Actual 331
        Attain a combined gross concessions/coffee service sales in total excess of $160,000 and a net
         profit margin of 63% - Actual concession sales $133,687 with a 65% profit margin

River’s Edge Convention Center FY12 Budget – Indicators of Success
        Host 47 or more major conferences/conventions/trade shows ~ Year to date 43
        Host 350 or more events ~ Year to date 212
The River’s Edge staff has indicated that due to anticipated State bids they did not receive and one
large conference that the State decided not to hold, the River’s Edge may be short in reaching these
indicators. Additionally, a long term corporate client cancelled their 2012/2013 meetings and
relocated those meetings to the Minneapolis area.

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The River’s Edge FY12 year-to-date financials through August 31, 2012 in comparison to FY11 year-to-
date through August 31, 2012 reflect the following increases:
       21% increase in operating revenues
       8.6% increase in hotel-motel tax
       9.9% increase in operating expenses
        o      Personal Services includes retirement sick leave payout of $59,601
       9.6% increase in supplies, services and charges
The changes in operating revenues/expenses have contributed to reducing the year-to-date
deficiency. However, there could still be many fluctuations, positive and potentially negative, in the
remaining months of the year. As referenced later in this section, the implementation of a financial
forecast will assist the River’s Edge in managing its expenses related to its revenues throughout the
fiscal year.

                                          CITY OF ST. CLOUD
                                  RIVER'S EDGE CONVENTION CENTER
                              Revenues and Expenses through August 31st

                         Revenues                            2011                    2012
            Operating                                   $     654,395           $     792,366
            Hotel-Motel Tax                                   270,954                 294,183
            Interest                                            8,219                   6,785
               Total Revenues                           $     933,568           $   1,093,334

            *Personal Services                          $     524,676           $     576,555
            Supplies, Services & Charges                      551,304                 604,492
               Total Expenses                           $   1,075,980           $   1,181,047

            Excess(Deficiency)of Revenues
              Over (Under) Expenses                     $    (142,412)          $      (87,713)

            *Personal Services includes retirement sick leave payout of $59,601 in 2012
                                                                                          Source: City of St. Cloud

The Application to the Minnesota Business Development Capital Project Grant Program reflects a 10-
year estimated budget 2013-2022. The following table reflects the budgeted FY11 and FY12 financials
and the estimations through 2022. Following an expansion, convention centers typically see an 8-
10% increase in revenues the first full year of operation. A slightly smaller increase is seen the
second year and then stabilized revenues in the 4-5% growth range for subsequent years. In FY12,
expenses were budgeted at a higher level based on the operation of the expanded River’s Edge.
Without a significant fluctuation in operations (i.e. utility spikes, equipment repairs, etc.), new venues
generally see expenses increase an average of 3.75% each fiscal year. The estimated budget
numbers on the following table are consistent with VenuWorks’ experience. It is important to note

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that for the River’s Edge to achieve the aggressive numbers reflected in FY13-22, it will be necessary
for the venue staff and community partners to initiate a strong sales effort focused on increasing
venue event totals while minimizing expenses.

                                 RIVER'S EDGE CONVENTION CENTER
                                       BUDGET INFORMATION
                                            FY11 - FY 22

           Fiscal                                                      % of
           Year      Revenue*      % of Increase    Expenses**       Increase        Profit/Loss

           2011      1,755,200                       1,752,200                          3,000

         2012***     1,755,500          0.0%         1,830,800         4.5%           (75,300)
           2013      1,878,100          7.0%         1,875,800         2.5%             2,300
           2014      1,980,100          5.4%         1,970,700         5.1%             9,400
           2015      2,065,700          4.3%         2,049,500         4.0%            16,200
           2016      2,155,300          4.3%         2,104,600         2.7%            50,700
           2017      2,249,200          4.4%         2,180,200         3.6%            69,000
           2018      2,372,500          5.5%         2,266,400         4.0%           106,100
           2019      2,476,400          4.4%         2,344,400         3.4%           132,000
           2020      2,585,300          4.4%         2,441,600         4.1%           143,700
           2021      2,699,300          4.4%         2,520,900         3.2%           178,400
           2022      2,818,700          4.4%         2,631,900         4.4%           186,800
         *Includes hotel/motel tax                                           Source: River's Edge
         ** Includes Paramount Theatre allocation
         ***Projected higher operating costs vs. revenue for first months of expansion operation

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To assist the City in evaluating future performance of the River’s Edge following its first full year of
operation, the table below provides a benchmark comparison of the River’s Edge’s operation in
comparison to three similar convention centers operated by VenuWorks. To provide consistency in the
benchmarking each venue provided information related to their most recently completed fiscal year
                                       COMPARATIVE FINANCIALS
                                   BASED ON FY11 YEAR END RESULTS

                                                         River's Edge          Average of
                                                         Convention           Comparable         River's Edge
                                                           Center*              Venues           vs. Average

   Event Related
     Rent                                                        566,033           363,235             202,798
     Facility Fees                                                   -               2,532              (2,532)
     Reimbursed Event Expenses                                   189,607           107,125              82,482
     Concession Sales (Gross)                                    133,687            31,126             102,561
     Vending Net                                                   2,613               -                 2,613
     Catering Net                                                 78,365           733,070            (654,705)
     Liquor Net                                                   97,139           125,569             (28,430)
     Contracted Services                                          17,810            13,333               4,477
     In House Equipment Rental                                    26,870            94,077             (67,207)
                     Total Event Revenues                      1,112,124         1,470,068            (357,944)

   Miscellaneous                                                 28,330            18,181              10,149
   Signage & Sponsorship                                            -               3,249              (3,249)
   Interest Income                                                  -               2,847              (2,847)
                      TOTAL REVENUES                         1,140,454         1,494,345            (353,891)

    Personnel Services                                          824,197           983,803            (159,606)
    General Administrative                                       39,130            41,504              (2,374)
    Occupancy                                                    58,387           120,540             (62,153)
    Utilities                                                   248,939           157,005              91,934
    Travel & Training                                             1,119            15,057             (13,938)
    Event Related Expenses                                          -              91,411             (91,411)
    Publishing & Advertising                                      7,545            33,613             (26,068)
    Services and Operations                                     154,424           194,269             (39,845)
                        TOTAL EXPENSES                       1,333,741         1,637,202            (303,461)

                     NET PROFIT/(LOSS)                        (193,287)         (142,857)            (50,430)
          (excludes subsidies, transfer and
*The actual year-end financial result for the River’s Edge for FY11 was a profit of $3,000 when factoring in
hotel/motel revenue allocation and Paramount Theatre expense allocation.

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Public assembly venues receive funding allocations through a variety of sources and at a variety of
levels. Additionally, expense allocations vary from venue to venue. Therefore, to reflect a more
representative sample for comparative purposes, the hotel/motel allocation the River’s Edge receives
as well as the Paramount Theatre expense is not reflected on this chart.

      REVENUE VARIANCES - The rents collected at the River’s Edge exceed the average by
       approximately $200,000. The three venues listed in the comparative manage the food and
       beverage operation in-house. This results in the catering net average to be $654,705 greater
       than the net received by River’s Edge. As discussed in various sections of this report, by
       managing all the revenue sources in-house, the venue has greater flexibility to negotiate
       rental rates and create a “package” for the client. Thus the lower room rental revenues are
       offset by higher catering revenues. Having the ability to negotiate rent packages ultimately
       increases overall profits for the venue.

      EXPENSE VARIANCES - Personnel services average 50-60% of a venue’s annual expenses.
       Currently, the River’s Edge Personnel Services line item is $159,606 less than the average. As
       discussed in various sections of this report, VenuWorks is recommending several adjustments
       to the current organizational chart including new positions and restructuring of existing
       positions. Fully staffing the venue would increase overall personnel expenses. However, the
       River’s Edge would be in a position to offset the increased expense through an aggressive
       sales approach and increased revenues.

Following the close of FY12, the River’s Edge should compare the actual revenue and expenses to
these benchmark numbers to analyze a full year of operation with the expansion. For reference
purposes, included in the Appendices is the 2008 Benchmarking Survey Report – Convention Center
Operating Expenses. This document will provide a baseline of industry standard expenses in the
categories of: room set up, repair and maintenance, grounds maintenance, event management,
building utilities, sales and marketing and insurance. Page 27 of the document provides the
definitions of the expense categories to ensure the venue is applying its expenses utilizing the same
methodology as the Report.

At the present time, throughout the fiscal year, the River’s Edge staff does not analyze revenues and
expenses in relation to the annual budget. A “financial forecast” provides a look ahead to the end of
the fiscal year. The forecast, based on assumptions about conditions actually expected to occur,
should factor in new events, events that have dropped off the calendar and the revenues and

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expenses associated with each. Forecasting provides the Director and Manager with the tools
necessary to track event profitability and the number and types of events booked on an ongoing basis
to ensure financial success of the venue.

On a monthly basis, following the first quarter of the fiscal year, the Manager should conduct an
analysis of the booking calendar through a financial forecast and compare that analysis to the data
that was used to prepare the annual budget.

The current rental rates of the River’s Edge include full setup and take down of tables, chairs, stage
and basic sound systems. When establishing the rental rates, many factors have to be considered
including, but not limited to, competitor’s rates and other revenue sources that may be generated by
the event activities. The River’s Edge does not complete an event profit and loss statement following
each event. Without these profit and loss statements, the venue does not have a benchmark by which
to determine how to manage expenses in relation to revenue for future events. By not using this tool,
the venue does not know if the event was profitable, if rental rates covered labor and other expenses,
or if the staff was efficient and effective in the time and materials needed to service the event.

The FY12 River’s Edge Budget packet indicates no rate increases were assumed for the first six to
eight months of operation. It was anticipated the rate structure would need to be reviewed after this
time period. Statewide, venues are competing for many of the same conventions and meetings. To
be successful in securing a wide range of events, the venue must have the flexibility to negotiate its
rates. This requires a fine balance between the fiscal responsibilities of keeping the River’s Edge
operating within its budget parameters and creating the right financial package to attract clients to the
venue. There is no boiler plate template for these negotiations. Every client has specific needs and
the River’s Edge is competing with venues that are willing to be creative in their financial packages.

       Develop a Profit and Loss Statement form that is to be completed at the end of each event.
       At the end of the first full year of operation, compare operating expenses related to room set
        up, event management/coordination, sales and marketing and total operating expenses in
        comparison to the 2010 Operating Expenses – Convention Center benchmarking chart created
        through IAVM. A copy of the report is included in the Appendices Section.
       Conduct competitive market research of rental and equipment rates in order to conduct an
        analysis of River’s Edge rates in comparison to competitors.
       Establish a methodology to evaluate rental rate reductions on a case-by-case basis.

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        In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
            Catering
            Kitchen Equipment / Cleanliness
            Concessions / Non Alcoholic Beverages
            Alcohol Services

Throughout the industry, convention center catering services are handled through one of the following
three methods: in house, exclusive outside caterer or an approved list of preferred caterers. For a
venue the caliber of the River’s Edge, in house catering would typically be the preferred method for
providing food and beverage services. In-house catering offers venue management total control of
the food service operation including; food quality, liability, menu creation, product pricing, service
levels and financial profitability.   Additionally, in-house food service offers the venue Manager the
opportunity to negotiate an “all inclusive” package for the client that includes room rental, equipment
and staffing fees along with the catering considerations.

The River’s Edge uses an approved list of preferred caterers and has a long-standing strong
partnership with many of the caterers on this list. The Center does handle some of the smaller
breakfast and box lunch meals in house. The River’s Edge does not have a full service kitchen. There
are two “catering” kitchen areas from which caterers can stage food and add the finishing touches
prior to serving. The River’s Edge provides walk-in coolers, freezers, dishwashing equipment, ice
machine, carts and prep tables. Caterers provide the china, linens, wait staff, clean up and waste
removal. Many of the focus group and survey clients indicated that they liked the preferred caterer
method at the River’s Edge. They felt this gave them the opportunity to work with the caterer that
best met their needs and pricing.

If the River’s Edge took the catering operations completely in house, with a properly run department,
they could expect to return a profit of 40-45%. Currently the River’s Edge is only realizing a 7%
commission fee which is collected from caterers on the gross amount of all goods and services
(excluding tax and tip). Caterers do not incur any additional expenses related to sales efforts,
marketing, cleaning, utilities, venue maintenance and upkeep for the events that they cater at the
River’s Edge. That noted, some of the caterers attending the focus group meetings still felt that they
did not receive anything for the percentage they paid to the venue. Looking ahead 12 months, the
majority of the caterers did indicate that they anticipate that their service levels will increase due to
the events and activities being hosted at the River’s Edge.

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       PREFERRED CATERERS - The current catering commission is low in comparison to industry
        standards. It is recommended that the commission be raised to 15-20%. At the 20% level,
        the River’s Edge will be able to offset the labor of the kitchen supervisor.
        o   One of the participants at the Catering Focus Group suggested that if the percentage
            needed to be raised, that a portion of the increase in revenue to the venue could be
            attributed to a fund to help buy-down venue costs for potential clients. This would provide
            the River’s Edge the opportunity to compete with venues that can create “all inclusive”
            packages through their in-house food and beverage operations. This is an excellent
            suggestion and should be researched further as it could have a positive impact on the
            River’s Edge event load through increased sales.
        o   Guidelines would need to be established as to how these funds can be used and the overall
            approval process.

       IN HOUSE OPERATION - Over the past three years the gross sales at the River’s Edge have
        ranged from $870,000 to over $1.1 million. At 7% commission, the venue has netted from
        $60,000 - $78,000 annually.
        o   For the River’s Edge to consider taking the catering exclusively in-house, the venue would
            have to build out a banquet kitchen to a full kitchen and supply it with all the equipment
            and supplies necessary to run the operation. It is estimated that the build out and
            equipment purchases would cost approximately $750,000 to $1 million.
        o   Based on a 10-year depreciation, VenuWorks is confident that the return on
            investment would be significant. It would require gross sales of only $250,000 annually to
            retire the debt based on a 40% profit. Calculating the River’s Edge last three years gross
            revenues at a 40% return, a properly run in-house food service operation would have
            netted approximately $350,000 - $400,000 annually. After the $100,000 annual
            depreciation for the build-out of the kitchen, the venue would still realize $250,000 -
            $300,000 annually.

During Russ Ferguson’s tour of the holding kitchens, he found them dirty and unorganized. Bars had
been put away dirty, which created a fruit fly infestation. As the kitchen is shared by all of the
caterers, it was not clear whose food was in the walk-in coolers or how long it had been there as the
food items were not properly covered or dated. Floors were not properly cleaned. At the time of the
tour, the kitchens did not meet basic health department guidelines. Under the current conditions,
without steam tables or hot carts, the kitchens are not conducive to holding food at the proper
temperatures which creates concerns for food safety. Focus group attendees indicated that at times

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the kitchens, dishwashers and coolers were not left in a usable condition by previous caterers and they
would have to clean them prior to beginning their food service.

       The River’s Edge has made a significant investment in the equipment they currently have in
        the kitchens. Under the preferred caterer operation, the River’s Edge should have a kitchen
        supervisor on site each time that the kitchens are in use. The kitchen supervisor’s
        responsibilities would include, but not be limited to:
        o   Maintaining a thorough knowledge of the proper operation of all Rivers’ Edge equipment to
            provide oversight and direction to catering staff using the equipment.
        o   Ensuring all food is removed by the caterer from coolers and freezers at the end of each
        o   Ensuring that cleaning products are readily available for the caterer’s use in cleaning the
            kitchen per established River’s Edge standards.
        o   Reporting any malfunctioning equipment to the River’s Edge Manager in a timely manner
            to ensure all equipment is usable so that events can be serviced per the client’s
        o   Completing incident reports if any equipment is damaged by the caterer and reporting
            such damage to the River’s Edge Manager in a timely manner.
       The River’s Edge should include in its capital budget the purchase of rolling stock (carts,
        dollies, etc.), small wares, dishwasher racks and other basic equipment to help ensure food
        quality and safety.

The River’s Edge handles all of the concession sales in house. Russ Ferguson’s tour of the concession
areas found them unorganized and not ready for service. One stand had just been renovated and the
other had not been open for several months. Menu boards have an outdated, unprofessional
appearance. Focus group clients with multiple day shows indicated they would like to see more
consistency in concession stand hours and variety in the menus.

Currently the non-alcoholic pour rights agreement for the River’s Edge is negotiated through the City
of St. Cloud. The activities and opportunities at the River’s Edge offer the pour rights vendor a
significant amount of exposure to their potential consumers.

       At the time of negotiation for the next term of the pour rights agreement, a discussion should
        be held between the River’s Edge and City staff to ensure all facets of marketing and revenue
        streams are maximized.

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       Menu boards need to be updated, possibly to video menu boards. Video boards would allow
        for flexibility in changing menu items and pricing and offer the venue a location for marketing
       Menu offerings need to be updated to generate increased sales. The current menu is very
        o   Portables and kiosks need to be incorporated for certain shows.
        o   A specialty coffee/cappuccino cart as well as hot food carts and beverage carts for flat
            shows are necessary in order to maximize sales.
        o   Menu pricing is low in comparison to similar markets. The Project Team was told by venue
            staff that the residents of St. Cloud are resistant to any higher pricing. Through a more
            creative and appealing menu of product offerings, the venue should be able to selectively
            increase pricing.
       Vending machines are located next to the concession stands. Currently the pricing for
        beverages in the vending machine is $ .25 less than the same items in the concession stand.
        While it is a good idea to have vending machines available for when the stand is not open,
        they should not compete with stand sales. As the venue only receives commissions from the
        vending provider, it is a lost revenue opportunity to have the machines operable at the same
        time the stands are open. At the times when the concession stands will be open, the vending
        machines should either be removed to a secure location (the machines could be placed on nice
        looking plastic pallets so they can be moved with a forklift) or the machines should be shut off
        until the concession stands close.
       Clients with multiple day events indicated that the hours of operation of the concession stands
        were inconsistent. Clients understood that if concession revenues were not sufficient to cover
        costs that it makes it challenging for the River’s Edge to open the stands. However, this
        inconsistency made it difficult for the vendors and patrons to know when the stands would be
        open and what food would be available. By implementing creative menu items and evaluating
        the placement of portable carts in high traffic areas, the River’s Edge should be able to
        increase their concession sales.

The Holiday Inn is the exclusive alcohol service provider for the River’s Edge. This Agreement with the
Holiday Inn is for two years running through August 31, 2013 with the option to extend the
Agreement for one additional two-year term. The Holiday Inn provides all product, trained servers
and all required insurance coverages. As a part of the Agreement, the City has set the pricing the
vendor may charge the patron. This set pricing makes the provider look for cheapest available brands
to serve in order to maximize their profits. Ultimately, this is short sighted as the patrons have a
higher expectation of available products and limit their purchases based on the brands available.
Currently, the River’s Edge is receiving 35% of the actual cash sales.

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      Enter into a discussion with the Holiday Inn to amend the current Agreement with a focus on
       the following:
       o   Raising the price of the drink to $5.50 and $6.50 for premium.
       o   Change brands to Dewar’s Scotch, Tanqueray Gin, Bacardi Vodka, Jack Daniels, Absolut
           Vodka, Jose Cuero Tequila, Seagram’s 7, and pour 1¼ oz. shots.
       o   Raise commission to River’s Edge to 40-45%.
      In house operation - At 35% commissions over the last three years, the River’s Edge has
       averaged $66,000 - $97,000. Industry standards for in-house alcohol service reflect 60%
       profit margin on these beverage sales. At the 60% level, the River’s Edge would have netted
       an additional $180,000 over the three-year period.
       o   It is recommended that at the expiration of the Agreement with the Holiday Inn that the
           River’s Edge take the beverage operation completely in house.
                       The Concessions Manager could assume the duties of a Beverage Manager.
                       Increased revenues to the River’s Edge would offset the additional labor,
                        product, insurance, training and operational costs.
                       The River’s Edge would have greater flexibility in product selection and pricing.

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             In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
                  Market Analysis
                  Convention and Visitors Bureau Marketing Agreement
                  Marketing and Sales Initiatives
                  Website Review

As stated in the CSL study, the socioeconomic and general demographic profile of the St. Cloud
market will have an impact on the overall success of the River’s Edge expansion. In their updated
analysis dated August 24, 2004 CSL addressed the major changes in employment occurring in St.
Cloud at the time of the report. Their information indicated that in 2001 the top 10 St. Cloud
companies employed approximately 18,600. According to 2003 data, the largest 10 companies
employed approximately 11,600, a 38% decrease, attributed in large part due to the restructuring of
Fingerhut. A review of the current major employers listed on the Chamber of Commerce website 1
reflects significant employment growth since the 2004 update. The top 10 companies currently
employ 17,868 employees, almost reaching the previous 2001 levels.

The St. Cloud MSA continues to be well positioned to accommodate the growth of business at the
River’s Edge with low unemployment rates (5.8% in July 2012) and expected growth in the median
household income. Projections of household income in 2015 reflect a slight decrease in the under
$34,999 and a 4.2% increase in the over $100,000 category. 2

For convention and meeting business, St. Cloud’s central location within the State makes it an
appealing destination for State Association business. For events that need to rotate their events, St.
Cloud easily aligns with a routing pattern of St. Cloud, Rochester and Duluth.

The St. Cloud Downtown Council is focused on the continued revitalization of the downtown area.
Several new restaurants, shops and businesses have located in the downtown area with hopes of
capitalizing on the increased event business at the River’s Edge. As meeting planners and patrons
plan their time in St. Cloud, a vibrant downtown and hotels within walking distance of the venue
creates an attractive package. The Downtown Council, through its Monday Morning Memo, keeps
downtown merchants and others on the distribution list informed of the events occurring at the River’s
Edge. For planning purposes, the Memo provides the date, name and estimated number of guests for
events at the River’s Edge for the upcoming two week period.

    “Our Community” St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. www.stcloudareachamber.com
    “Workforce Data”. Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. www.greaterstcloud.com

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In today’s ever increasing number of convention centers, it takes an aggressive sales and marketing
approach, a can-do attitude and exceptional customer service to ensure that the River’s Edge rises
above its competitors. Through the foresight of the City of St. Cloud, the Chamber of Commerce and
the Convention and Visitors Bureau, a collaborative agreement is in place to strengthen the sales and
marketing efforts for the River’s Edge and the City of St. Cloud. The Chamber/CVB primary objective
per the Agreement is to promote and solicit conventions and other events that maximize the use of
the River’s Edge. Each year, the Chamber/CVB submits a Strategic Work Plan and Marketing Plan.
Per the Agreement, this plan is to be a collaborative product of the CVB and River’s Edge staff.

Unfortunately the relationship between the CVB and River’s Edge staff is extremely strained. A
common statement the Project Team heard in the focus group meetings and read through survey
results is that the CVB and River’s Edge staff do not work well together. The CVB and the River’s Edge
staff themselves expressed frustration with the working relationship. Both organizations strongly
believe they have the best interest of the client and the community in mind when making decisions
and handling business. Industry wide it is not uncommon for these two organizations to be at odds
with each other.

In August of 2007 the national organizations of the International Association of Venue Managers and
Destination Marketing Association International undertook a study to develop a “Best Practices for
Convention Center Sales and Convention Center Operations”. A full copy of this Joint Committee
Report is found in the Appendices. The study group’s stated objective was that regardless of the
business model, destination or facility, the industry must develop and promote “best practices” in
sales and operations to insure a seamless experience for the customer utilizing the destination and the
corresponding public assembly facilities. 3

Critical Issue #1 of the Best Practices report states to start at the beginning by making a concentrated
effort to establish a healthy working relationship by “wiping the slate clean” and discussing openly the
specific objectives of each entity without passing judgment.
          For the River’s Edge and the St. Cloud community to realize the full potential of the expanded
           venue it is imperative that the River’s Edge and CVB staff mend their relationship. This will
           not be an easy process and it will not happen overnight. A process should be undertaken
           immediately, facilitated by an objective third party, through which these two organizations can
           establish their own joint “Best Practices” and develop a relationship built on mutual respect.

 “Best Practices Convention Center Sales and Convention Center Operations, A Report from the Joint Study Committee.” Destination Marketing
Association International and International Association of Assembly Managers, Inc. 27 August 2007. www.iavm.org

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       The industry “Best Practices” document should be used as a template to start the
        conversations and establish the agenda.

The 2012 Strategic Work Plan and Marketing Plan for the CVB highlights the Bureau’s Goals and
Objectives related to Convention Sales and Service. The plan is very comprehensive including
advertisements that will be placed, tradeshows and conferences their staff will attend, marketing
campaigns they will initiate and special services they will provide for potential and current clients
utilizing the River’s Edge. The plan provides measureable goals and objectives.

The River’s Edge Marketing/Events Coordinator position has been vacant since 2008. This vacancy
has a negative impact on the venue in many ways; public relations, proactive sales initiatives, venue
marketing initiatives and community awareness. While a primary focus of the CVB is the marketing
and selling of the River’s Edge, the River’s Edge staff should also be an active partner in these same
initiatives for an overall successful approach. As with most organizations, marketing dollars are
always stretched thin and staff must be creative and collaborative in maximizing their budgets.

In addition to the sales and marketing partnership with the CVB, the River’s Edge has additional
marketing initiatives that are building focused including methodology of attracting local events,
attracting patrons to the venue’s events, maintaining the website and creative marketing approaches
to keep the River’s Edge top of mind. At the present time the River’s Edge does not create an annual
overall marketing plan setting out their goals and objectives. In FY12, the River’s Edge has budgeted
approximately $25,000 for publishing and advertising. However, the majority of these dollars have
been set aside for grand reopening publicity and activities.

       STAFFING - As stated in the Administrative section earlier in this report, it is recommended
        that the River’s Edge create a Sales and Marketing Coordinator position with the essential
        duties as outlined in that section. The Sales and Marketing Coordinator needs to have the
        flexibility to be out of the office to meet current and potential clients and travel with the CVB
        to tradeshows and conferences. In conjunction with the River’s Edge Manager, the sales
        person must have a strong working relationship with the CVB and be actively involved in the
        community to keep current on events, activities and trends occurring locally, regionally and

       ANNUAL MARKETING PLAN - As a venue and in partnership with the CVB, the River’s Edge
        should create its own annual marketing plan as a part of the budgeting process. The staff

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        should set goals, objectives and the strategies they will follow to meet those goals. The plan
        should set out:
        o   Tactics for direct sales and cold calling initiatives to local and regional groups and
        o   Trade shows the River’s Edge staff will attend in partnership with the CVB.
        o   The advertising and marketing campaign that the River’s Edge will create to highlight the
            venue, its events and its opportunities.
        o   How the River’s Edge marketing dollars will be spent to complement the CVB marketing
        o   The public relations campaign the Community Services & Facilities Director, River’s Edge
            Manager and Sales and Marketing Coordinator will undertake within the community and
            region to bring further awareness of the River’s Edge.
        o   Professional organizations the River’s Edge staff will be a part of to engage in the
            community and the industry.
        o   Development of a customer service program.

The following evaluation was done by Thomas Peters, Brand Manager for VenuWorks, using a slightly
modified version of the standard website evaluation criteria that was recently used for all VenuWorks
facilities. Modifications that were made to the criteria were strictly VenuWorks Brand related and were
not applicable to the River’s Edge.

Overall, the River’s Edge received an evaluation score of 84 out of possible 100. The evaluation was
marked according to the following:
                                                                        VenuWorks Website Evaluation
       EVENTS
                                                            Events                                         9 /   10
        o   The calendar that is used is very user
                                                            Branding                                        0
                                                                                                           1 /   10
            friendly. Pictures regarding the upcoming
                                                            Page Layout                                    8 /   10
            events placed in either the detailed
                                                            Links                                          5 /   10
            calendar information or in the header
                                                            Images                                         7 /   10
            images would increase event awareness.
                                                            Facility Information                            0
                                                                                                           1 /   10

                                                            Usability                                       0
                                                                                                           1 /   10
       BRANDING                                            Internet Browser Compatibility                  0
                                                                                                           1 /   10
        o   The venue does an excellent job of              Facebook as a sales tool                       5 /   10
            mentioning the ownership and the venue’s        Facebook Page management                        0
                                                                                                           1 /   10
            logo is displayed well throughout the           TOTAL SCORE                                   84 /   100

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        o   While the space on the website is used efficiently and the spelling and grammar did not
            reveal any problems, the importance of the “Weather Alert” did not make sense. The alert
            was outdated and therefore did not enhance the website but only raised a false concern
            for users on the homepage.

       LINKS
        o   The website has a great link to the CVB and Chamber of Commerce. However, the
            website lacks mention of the venue’s social media. It is recommended that a Facebook
            button be added to the homepage to direct users accordingly and to give credibility to the
            Facebook Page that has been created for the venue.

       IMAGES
        o   Images of the venue are updated as far as architectural renderings are concerned and
            they are clear. However, adding more event and facility pictures would enhance the
            experience for viewers of the website and for potential clients interested in booking

        o   The venue does a great job in providing information regarding who to contact, the venue
            specifications and the venue’s history.

        o   This website is easy to navigate for both patrons and promoters.

        o   This website is easy to navigate on Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox, Google Chrome,
            Safari and on mobile phones.

        o   The venue is very clearly in control of the page and does a great job of providing
            information about the venue for perspective clients and patrons.

Overall, this website is a great resource. This evaluation is to be used only as a means of guiding
future website development.

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         In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
            Operations Manual
            Planned Maintenance
            Event Rigging
            Wayfinding
            Organization of Equipment and Supplies
            Facility Cleanliness
            Internet Connectivity

Over the course of our site visits, the Project Team conducted interviews with several Operations staff
and observed the staff perform their duties related to facility maintenance and event conversions. In
general, we noted the following performance attributes:
        The staff we interviewed always demonstrated a polite and pleasant demeanor.
        The staff demonstrated a good working knowledge of the facility and the event set-ups.
        The staff worked well with each other and were efficient in their movements throughout the
        The staff followed the work orders (event setup sheets) very well.
Further observations revealed a need for improvements in specific areas. The Project Team findings
and recommendations are listed below.

The River’s Edge and the MAC both utilize the “Safety/Hazardous Materials Policy Manual” revised
January 2011 as a source for a wide variety of policies and procedures pertaining to employee safety,
emergency responses and “General Tradeshow Guidelines”. The manual provides a somewhat limited
amount of information on a wide variety of topics. Typically the Operations Manual is a separate
document that provides operations staff with comprehensive guidelines and procedures that must be
followed in fulfilling their job responsibilities. The Operations Manual should also be utilized as a
training guide for specific tasks performed by the operations staff.

It is recommended that venue management develop a separate Operations Manual for the River’s
Edge, specific to its venue and equipment, and provide the necessary training to the staff following the
guidelines of the Manual.

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According to the Operations Supervisor, the venue does not have a Planned Maintenance Program. A
Planned Maintenance Program is essential in projecting potentially costly equipment replacement or
repairs. Without a Plan, the venue resorts to being reactive rather than proactive in regards to
product pricing, availability and vendor labor rates. The venue staff does follow a prescribed schedule
for replacing belts and filters and outside vendors also perform other maintenance on a regular basis.
Through Project Team observations and interviews with Mr. Dunsmoor, it was determined that the
roof over the original part of the River’s Edge as well as the roof top heating/ac units have exceeded
their anticipated life expectancy. The replacement of these items should be part of a comprehensive
planned maintenance program.

An overall plan should be developed for all equipment regardless of who actually performs the
       A full review of equipment should be developed into a capital improvements plan for review by
        the City.
       VenuWorks has included a general Life Expectancy Chart For Building Services Plant,
        Equipment and Systems in the Appendices section of this report as an aid for the future
        development of the venue’s Planned Maintenance Program.

During the VenuWorks site visit of the River’s Edge the Project Team observed the operations crew
installing pipe to hang drape from the ceiling using a locally fabricated device. While the concept of
their hook and loop (hook up between the bottom cords of the truss and the loop around the pipe)
was very ingenious, and probably safe, there is no known rating of the device they created. It is
important to note that without the protection of a manufacturer’s warranty, should a failure of the
equipment occur, we believe the liability would rest with the venue.

Most facilities have their own qualified riggers or utilize qualified riggers from an outside vendor that
are familiar with the building and its capacities. Outside vendors can, and often do, perform rigging
functions in a variety of venues. However, the River’s Edge must predetermine if the vendor is using
qualified individuals with knowledge of event rigging protocols and an understanding of the River’s
Edge and its capabilities.

It is recommended that the Operations Supervisor (Manager) receive training from a qualified source
regarding industry standards for overhead event rigging protocols.

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       The Operations Supervisor does not necessarily need to be a qualified rigger but does need to
        be a competent person who understands when something inappropriate is being attempted by
        another employee or outside vendor.
        o   OSHA - 29 CFR 1926.32(l) states: "Qualified" means one who, by possession of a
            recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge,
            training and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve
            problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
        o   OSHA - 29 CFR 1926.32(f) states: "Competent person" means one who is capable of
            identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions,
            which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization
            to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Typically convention centers by the very nature of their mission are focused on attracting visitors from
outside of the immediate area. As such, these visitors may not be familiar with the best routes for
finding the venue, locating parking and making their way inside the venue to their event. This is
generally a visitor’s first impression of the community and the venue. Frustration at any of these
points can set the tone for their experience. St. Cloud residents familiar with the venue may not be as
reliant on venue related signage as a first time visitor. It was suggested at one of the focus group
meetings that River’s Edge staff may want to approach the venue and walk through the spaces with a
first-time client to see the signage and wayfinding through their eyes.

OUTDOOR SIGNAGE - The directional signage for the River’s Edge on the arterial streets leading to the
venue is typical. However, a first time visitor does notice the lack of signage on the building itself
when approaching north on 4th Avenue South. The skywalk from the River’s Edge to the Le St.
Germain blocks the driver’s view of the building signage over the doors to the expansion. The
marquee in front of the parking lot entrance on 4th Avenue is partially obscured by landscaping.

                                View approaching the venue from the south on 4th Avenue S.

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                             View of the south side of the venue from 4th Avenue S. and 1st Street S.

                             View of the west side of the venue from 1st Street N. and 5th Avenue N.

It is recommended that additional River’s Edge signage be installed near the top of the building in the
area above the dock doors to Hall D that clearly delineates the River’s Edge from the hotel. New
venue signage on the west end of the addition serves as an example.
       Landscaping should be adjusted so it does not obscure the venue signage.
       While generally all doors to the venue are unlocked during normal business hours, the new
        entrance doors should include signage directing visitors to the Administrative Office.

INDOOR SIGNAGE - Signage in the new part of the River’s Edge is effective and stylish. However, due
to the size of the venue and the multiple spaces, it would be helpful to have a “You Are Here” kiosk
located just inside the doors to the expansion. Directional signage for room locations in the original
sections of the venue contain a significant amount of information and there is not enough contrast in
the lettering for easy visibility. Focus group attendees commented that this signage appeared
cluttered and difficult to read.

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Wall mounted video monitors do offer building diagrams to assist patrons in wayfinding in some areas.
In all areas of the venue, including doorways from the hotel and parking structure, paper signs were
taped to the doors providing basic venue information. These signs appeared to have been in place for
an extended period of time and looked unprofessional.

      Focus group attendees thought that the signage in the original spaces could be improved to
       enhance the visitor experience.
      The paper signs should be replaced with permanent commercial signage related to venue

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       Any temporary paper signs related to an event should be removed immediately following the
       Commercial sign holders or frames should be considered for displaying any temporary event

The custodial supplies and equipment were not as organized as other aspects of the facility. The area
around some of the electrical panels in the original sections of the building was partially obstructed by
venue equipment and cleaning supplies. In other areas combustible materials (paper and cardboard
boxes) were too close to electrical panels. Water hoses coiled on the floor presented trip and fall

       For safety purposes, a clear zone should be maintained around all electrical panels.
       It is recommended that marking the floor around the electrical panels in the facility would help
        identify clear zones for maintenance purposes and code compliance.
       Cleaning supplies should be kept on racks or shelves and not accessible by the public.
       Hoses should be stored on wall mounted or free standing reels.

The River’s Edge is a beautiful center but focus group attendees and Project Team members noticed
the need for additional cleaning in specific areas. Focus group attendees commented that the lack of
cleanliness in the restrooms was an ongoing problem. Client focus group attendees stated they have
received complaints from their patrons about how dirty the fixtures and floors were inside the

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restrooms. Attendees further stated at peak times during their events, they actually restocked and
cleaned the restroom themselves in order to meet their patron’s needs.

The granite floor covering the new addition is already showing signs of use including several stained
areas. The venue is checking with the vendor, but since the floors may have not been sealed properly
by the installer, the staining could be permanent.

The paint scheme in the original portion of the building does not blend well with the paint scheme and
design in the addition. Some focus group attendees commented that the paint colors, doors, wall
covering and carpet have an outdated appearance. Now that clients and patrons have had the
opportunity to compare the original spaces to the new addition, their expectations have been set to a
higher level.

Focus group attendees voiced concerns about the condition of the attached Best Western Kelly Inn.
The Project Team noticed during site visits that some of the upholstered furniture in the remodeled
portions of the hotel still appeared to be worn and soiled. However, the hotel was still undergoing a
renovation during this time period and these concerns may be addressed as part of the ongoing

It will be imperative that the attached hotels and all patron spaces continue to be upgraded and
maintained in a manner that is consistent with the impressive appearance of the River’s Edge addition.
Meeting planners touring the River’s Edge expansion will have the same expectation of quality for all
areas of the venue and from the hotels that will serve as their host headquarters.

Technology is an ever-increasing part of today’s meetings and clients require dependable and
accessible internet connectivity. Some venues have seen a 100% increase in the last two years in the
amount of capacity clients are demanding. Internet services can be a revenue generator for the
venue. However, some venues provide the service at no cost to the clients as an added enticement to
secure their business.

       Internet demand will increase as the event load increases and the River’s Edge capacity will
        need to be monitored to ensure it meets the needs of its clients.
       A long-range plan should be developed so that funds are available for increased equipment
        and services.

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      Due to the size of the River’s Edge and the time needed to move from one end of the facility
       to the other, more than one staff person will need to be familiar with the internet system to
       assist the clients and patrons in a timely manner.

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          In this section of the report the following topics will be discussed:
             Employee Safety
             Loss Control Inspections
             Patron Safety
             Building Security

Venue safety and security are critical components of any public assembly facility operation. The
VenuWorks Safety and Security assessment of the River’s Edge began by touring the building,
interviewing venue and City staff and reviewing existing safety manuals and emergency plans.
The Project Team’s recommendations are based on our experience with Loss Control Inspections of
our managed venues conducted by our insurance carriers and through industry training and
experience. Local fire and building codes vary and could impact implementation of our
recommendations. Implementation of our recommendations is at the clients’ discretion and is their
responsibility. Our findings should not be interpreted in a way that implies that the venue is in
violation of any specific building or fire codes. Code enforcement officials should be consulted prior to
implementing any of our recommendations.

Simply stated, employee accident prevention is good business. It minimizes human suffering,
promotes better working conditions for everyone, holds the venue in higher regard with clients,
vendors and patrons and increases productivity. Generally, employee safety issues are regulated by
state and federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) standards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) was created within the Department of Labor
         Encourage employers and employees to reduce workplace hazards and to implement new or
          improve existing safety and health programs.
         Provide for research in occupational safety and health to develop innovative ways of dealing
          with occupational safety and health problems.
         Establish “separate but dependant responsibilities and rights” for employers and employees for
          the achievement of better safety and health conditions.
         Maintain a reporting and recordkeeping system to monitor job related injuries and illnesses.
         Establish training programs to increase the number and competence of occupational safety
          and health personnel.
         Develop mandatory job safety and health standards and enforce them effectively.

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       Provide for the development, analysis, evaluation and approval of state occupational safety
        and health programs.

OSHA General Duty Clause-
       Under OSHA each employer “shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of
        employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause
        death or serious physical harm to his employees” and “shall comply with occupational safety
        and health standards promulgated under this Act”.
       In addition each employee shall “comply with occupational safety and health standards and all
        rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own
        actions and conduct.”

According to Jennifer Burrows, Administrative Aide for the City of St. Cloud, and a member of the
City’s Safety Committee, the last Loss Control Inspection of the River’s Edge was conducted in 2004
with a follow-up inspection in 2007. Seven total deficiencies were cited and six were listed as
resolved. The City plans to have Berkley Risk conduct another assessment as the City reviews its
safety programs and training.

It is recommended that the next Loss Control Assessment include a review of the River’s Edge
operations in order to determine if all applicable state and federal OSHA programs are thoroughly
addressed in the January 2011 Civic Facilities Department’s Safety/Hazardous Materials Policy Manual
and being implemented at the River’s Edge. For reference purposes, the International Association of
Venue Managers lists the following programs at those which typically apply to public assembly venues.
The Project Team’s observations are noted with each of the following standards.
       OSHA 300 SUMMARY POSTING - OSHA requires that the Summary be posted from February 1
        to April 30 in a visible location so that employees can be made aware of injuries and illnesses
        occurring in their workplace. According to Ms. Burrows, she typically receives the employee
        injury reports and is responsible for creating and disseminating the OSHA 300 Summary. Pam
        Weber receives the Summary from Ms. Burrows and posts it inside her office at the River’s
        Edge. The summaries are to be accessible to all employees during all hours of operation. As
        Ms. Weber’s office has restricted access, the Project Team recommends the summary also be
        posted in a back-of-house area where it can be viewed at any time.

       PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT - PPE is worn to minimize exposure to a variety of
        workplace hazards. Examples of PPE include gloves, foot and eye protection, protective
        hearing devices, hard hats, respirators, etc. A job hazard assessment needs to be completed

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       to determine what PPE is needed for employee protection and employees should be trained in
       the use of PPE.

      HAZARD COMMUNICATION - Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) – An MSDS is a written
       document prepared by the chemical manufacturer or supplier that details the contents,
       hazards, proper use directives and emergency response protocols for a hazardous chemical.
       The River’s Edge is required to make a current MSDS file available employees during all hours
       of operation. The venue does have an MSDS book in the Operations Office. However, the
       office is always locked and the existing book is outdated. A chemical inventory should be
       conducted to ensure the MSDS book is brought up to date and a process needs to be
       developed to ensure the MSDS book remains current and accessible.

      FORKLIFT (POWERED INDUSTRIAL TRUCK) - The River’s Edge uses a forklift for daily
       operations and event set ups. According to OSHA, only trained and authorized employees can
       be permitted to operate a forklift. The operators must be trained and certified with the
       certification being renewed every three years. The forklifts must also be inspected daily with
       the inspections documented using an inspection checklist. Any defects affecting the safety of
       the forklift must be corrected before the forklift is returned to service.
       o   The River’s Edge does not have a written plan setting out the training and inspection
           protocols. Operations Technicians Supervisor Brian O’Malley stated his forklift certification
           has expired and they have not received any current training due to budget cutbacks.
       O   Mr. O’Malley stated that vendors are allowed to use the River’s Edge forklift. To minimize
           liability, only River’s Edge certified operators should be allowed to operate venue

      FALL PROTECTION / SCISSORS LIFT - When using a scissors lift, occupants shall be protected
       from falling by restraint systems, fall arrest systems or guardrails. Fall protection is required
       if employees go above or beyond the lift’s guardrail system.
       O   Mr. O’Malley was aware that staff needed fall arrest equipment if they leave the confines
           of the scissor lift railings while conducting maintenance or event rigging.

      HEARING CONSERVATION - The purpose of a hearing conservation plan is to outline the
       precautions that will be taken to reduce the occupational exposure to the potential damaging
       effect of noise in the workplace. A hearing conservation plan is required when it has been
       determined that the average daily noise levels exceed 85 decibels during the workday. Noise
       monitoring must be completed to determine workplace noise levels. The venue does supply
       two types of hearing protection.

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      CONTROL OF HAZARDOUS ENERGY- (LOCK OUT/TAG OUT) -The purpose of lock out/tag out is
       to prevent injuries arising out of the unexpected start up of machines and equipment during
       servicing or maintenance activities.
       O   Mr. O’Malley stated that at the River’s Edge, electrical contractors are typically hired to
           make all repairs.

      EXTENSION CORD SAFETY PLAN - The purpose of this plan is to prevent injuries arising out of
       the use of extension cords and to provide guidelines for the proper use and care of the
       extension cords.
       o   All damaged cords should be removed from service and tagged as unsafe until repairs or
           replacement occurs.
       o   Mr. Dunsmoor stated that the venue has not yet developed an inspection program but
           they do check for damaged every time the cords are handled.

       o   VenuWorks has been advised by our insurance carrier that for safety purposes the use of
           the metal “shop boxes” in VenuWorks buildings should be discontinued.
       o   The River’s Edge should check with local authorities to determine if their current supply of
           cords assembled with metal “shop boxes” should be replaced with plastic, non-conductive
           boxes/receptacles. The electrical drops in the new catering kitchen serves as an example
           of non-conductive boxes.
       O   All two prong, light duty extension cords (usually left behind by clients) should be
           removed from the venue’s inventory.

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      CONFINED SPACE - A confined space is defined as a space that is large enough and so
       configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work. Secondly, the
       space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit; i.e. tanks, vessels, bins, hoppers,
       vaults and pits. Lastly, the space is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
       o   A venue assessment should be conducted to ensure all hazards are identified and
           addressed in a written plan with special attention given to the operating protocols and
           training regarding trash compactors and elevator pits as lock out/tag out might also be

      RESPIRATORY PROTECTION - The purpose of this plan is to establish minimum procedures for
       determining safe use considerations for respiratory protection.
       o   A venue assessment should be conducted to ensure all hazards are identified and
           addressed within a written plan. Special attention should be given to the protocols and
           training regarding the use of substances and chemicals that would require a mask or
           respirator to protect the employee.
       o   Management must be aware of any substances being brought into the venue by vendors,
           contractors or clients that could pose a risk to venue staff and patrons.

EMPLOYEE SAFETY MANUAL - The Civic Facilities Departments (River’s Edge and the MAC) have a
“Safety/Hazardous Materials Policy Manual” that was revised in January 2011. Mr. Dunsmoor had the
current copy but Mr. O’Malley’s copy located in the Operations Office was dated 2003 and he was
unaware of the updated version. The City also has a “Safety Program 2012” that includes a “Safety
Dollars” program. Some members of the River’s Edge staff were unfamiliar with this program.

There needs to be improved communication between the River’s Edge Safety Committee member(s)
and the staff regarding the safety programs and policies.

SAFETY STATION - A Safety Station serves as a single location for safety information and supplies.
The Safety Station should include the following:
      Fire Extinguisher
      AED
      Emergency Plan
      Safety Manual
      MSDS Book
      Bulletin Board for posting safety related notices (OSHA 300 reports)
      First Aid Kit

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       Lock Out /Tag Out Kit
       PPE
       Safety Suggestion Box
       Blood Borne Pathogens Clean Up Supplies
       Eye Wash Station
       Flammable Liquids Storage Cabinet

                                      Example of a venue Safety Station and PPE.

It is recommended that the venue create a safety station in a back-of-house area that is accessible to
all employees, 24-7.

TRAINING - According to Mr. O’Malley the staff has not had any training in first aid, fire extinguisher,
CPR, AED or forklift in the past four – five years. Staff stated all safety training was eliminated due to
City budget cutbacks.
       Ms. Burrows stated training was the responsibility of the individual departments.
       First Aid training was previously provided by the St. Cloud Fire Department.
       Ms. Burrows stated Berkley Risk Services is assessing the City’s training needs through an
        agreement with the MN League of Cities.

Staff training should be resumed and updated as soon as possible.
       Training files should be maintained at the venue to provide documentation of all training
        received by the staff.

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Nothing is more important in the public assembly facility industry than the safety of the people who
come to the venues. Patrons attend events confident in the belief that management has taken every
precaution necessary to ensure their well being during their visit. Patron safety issues are typically
regulated by local building, zoning and fire regulations. Fire requirements are typically based on
national standards known as the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 101 Life Safety Code.

EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN - OSHA standard 1910.38 requires an Emergency Action Plan for
employees, but operators of public assembly facilities are also responsible for the safety of their
patrons, clients and vendors. Therefore, the venue’s Emergency Action Plan should also focus on
emergency actions and responses related to hosting events at the venue. An effective Emergency
Action Plan should outline the following:
       Procedures for reporting fires and other emergencies.
       Procedures for emergency evacuations, including type of evacuation and exit route
       Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical equipment before they
       Procedures to account for all employees after the evacuation.
       Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties.
       The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more
        information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.
       Other Plan considerations include the following:
        o   Should serve as a guide for the venue’s Emergency Team and local emergency responders
            in carrying out their responsibilities for the protection of life and property during a variety
            of possible emergency responses.
        o   Should be applicable to all venue employees, contractors, vendors and clients performing
            work or conducting business at the venue.
        o   Should not be treated as a public document for security purposes. However, sharing the
            plan with potential emergency responders is imperative for ensuring the safety of
            employees, clients and patrons.
        o   Should be reviewed regularly and used to train venue staff.
        o   Should be on the desk of every fulltime staff member for quick reference.

Mr. Dunsmoor was able to locate a copy of the existing Emergency Plan for the venue that appeared
to be quite extensive but was last updated in 1989. Additionally, some emergency response
procedures are also listed in the 2011 Safety/Hazardous Materials Policy Manual. Neither of these
Plans include the recent venue expansion.

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       The plan should be updated to include the expansion and current facility systems.
       A copy should be available at the Safety Center for access by all part time employees.
       The plan should be distributed to all full time staff and updated annually.
       Staff should be trained to the elements of the Plan.

EVACUATION ROUTE/EXIT DIAGRAMS - Evacuation route diagrams or exit diagrams serve two
purposes. They assist patrons with wayfinding and provide a reference to patrons during an
emergency. Evacuation route diagrams are not currently posted in the venue.

It is recommended that evacuation route diagrams be created and posted in various locations
throughout the venue even if it is not required by local codes.
       Staff should also check all exit doors prior to and during events to ensure the exit ways are
        unobstructed and all doors open and operate as intended.

PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM - There is no venue-wide PA system that can be used to warn patrons of
non-fire emergencies that may require evacuating the premises or sheltering in place. The newly
expanded spaces have a system but not the original spaces. The staff must now go to each space and
make individual announcements. Venue management recognized the need for an integrated system
during the planning process for the expansion but funding was not available to implement the system.

       It is recommended that a system be installed that gives staff the ability to make venue-wide
        emergency announcements.
       Pre-approved written announcements should be prepared that relate to specific emergencies
        and the applicable evacuation parameters.
       The announcements should be kept in a book located next to the microphone used for the PA

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS - Standing crowds and venue equipment can easily obstruct the extinguisher
locations from view without overhead signs. The lack of this signage was noted in the original
portions of the venue. Overhead extinguisher signage was installed in some areas of the new addition.
However, as these signs were mounted low on the wall, they can be easily obstructed by venue
       OSHA 1910.157 (c)(1) states that the employer shall provide portable fire extinguishers and
        shall mount, locate and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees without

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       subjecting the employees to possible injury, but doesn't give any specifics on how to mark the
      NFPA 10-Portable Fire Extinguishers vaguely addresses marking the location of the
       extinguisher in section where it is stated that “In large rooms and in certain
       locations where visual obstructions cannot be completely avoided, means shall be provided to
       indicate the extinguisher location.”
      NFPA also states that the extinguishers must not be obstructed from view.

      Although it may not be required by state or local codes, consideration should be given to
       installing overhead signage above the fire extinguishers located in all back of house areas and
       in the assembly areas at a height that allows for clear view in case of an emergency.
      In addition to the regular vendor inspections venue staff should inspect all fire extinguishers
       monthly to ensure the extinguishers are in the proper location and ready for use.
       o   Due to the amount of activity in public assembly venues, extinguishers have the potential
           to be damaged, misplaced or stolen. Regular inspections provide an opportunity to ensure
           all extinguishers are in place.
      The monthly inspections should be documented either on an inspection log or on the
       extinguisher tag.

FIRE ALARM AND SUPPRESSION - The entire venue is protected by an automatic sprinkler system that
utilizes a combination of both wet and dry systems. The staff was recently trained on the proper
operation of the panel and the fire suppression system. The expansion required the existing fire panel
and the new system to be blended into one control panel for the whole venue.

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       It is recommended that all staff receive annual training related to the venue’s fire systems.

EMERGENCY LIGHTING - There is no emergency generator for the venue. Exit lighting and emergency
lighting rely on battery packs for backup power. The operations staff does not use written logs to
track their inspections of these systems.

       It is recommended that emergency lights be inspected monthly by the staff and that the
        inspections should be recorded on inspection logs.

EXIT SIGNS/LIGHTS - Terry Haws “C” Hall has non-lighted exit signs located at a height visible above
of standard pipe and drape.

       These signs are a good way to enhance patron safety but we believe they should be replaced
        with lighted and permanently installed exit signs.
       Since pipe and drape and other event related fixtures, equipment and materials can easily
        conceal emergency signage and fire extinguishers, overhead signage is recommended for all
        event spaces.

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TWO-WAY RADIOS - The full time staff are issued two-way radios that include a channel that can be
used to contact the police dispatcher. VenuWorks adopted the use of emergency radio codes for all its
managed facilities. The radio codes are typically used when transmitting information about
emergency situations via two-way radios. (Code Red=Fire, Code White=Bomb Threat, Code Green=
Disturbance/Fight, Code Blue=Medical Issue, etc.) The codes are intended to be used in place of
potentially panic-causing terms that members of the public could overhear on staff radios. Once the
staff is prepared to handle the emergency response, the use of the radio codes should then be
discontinued. The River’s Edge has no internal radio codes that can be used during an emergency.

       The River’s Edge should consider establishing radio codes as a part of the Emergency Action
        Plan update.
       The codes should be laminated on the back of all staff identification cards so they are always
        available for quick reference in case of an emergency.

PHOTO ID’S - For safety and security purposes and for customer relations, photo identification cards
are an important part of an overall security program. Currently the River’s Edge staff relies on venue
issued logo shirts to identify themselves to clients and patrons.

       The River’s Edge should consider requiring photo IDs to be worn by all staff during an event.
       The Radio Codes should be laminated on the back of the ID card.
       It is recommended that the staff be issued breakaway lanyards for the photo ID as a safety

AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR (AED) - The venue has one AED located on first floor near the
bottom of the stairs outside Glenn Carlson Exhibit Hall “D”.

       Overhead signage should be added to make the AED easier to locate.
       Additional AED’s should be acquired for other areas of the building in order to lessen the
        response time in an emergency.
       Staff training on AED usage should be updated and documented.

SEVERE WEATHER NOTIFICATIONS - Delayed responses to weather emergencies can have deadly
consequences. The venue has a NOAA Weather Radio in the Administrative Office used to track
severe weather events and the City has outdoor warning sirens located near the building that provides

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patrons with some warning of severe weather events. The 2011 Safety/Hazardous Materials Policy
Manual also includes the channel information for local radio and television stations.

       It is recommended that a second NOAA radio be located in another area where it can be
        accessed by event staff 24-7, or at times when the Administrative Office is closed.
       Staff should also be aware if they choose to monitor severe weather events via cell phone
        apps, that not all apps offer real-time weather tracking and updates which could lead in
        misinterpretation of the weather threat.

CERTIFIED CROWD MANAGERS - The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety Code
13.7.6 requires that one Certified Crowd Manager be in the venue for every 250 patrons in attendance
at events. The ratio of trained crowd managers to occupants can be reduced by the local authority
having jurisdiction based on building sprinkler systems and the nature of the event.

       A discussion should be held with the St. Cloud Fire Marshal with regard to the level of Certified
        Crowd Managers required at the River’s Edge.
       The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) offers training seminars designed to
        satisfy the requirement.
       Online, no cost training is also available through the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office at
       It is recommended that all venue staff receive the training from one of the above listed
       Staff training must also include venue specific training regarding crowd management and

riser seating for 877 patrons. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety Code
13.7.11 requires two types of inspections for new and existing seating installations. Yearly inspections
by qualified venue staff are required and must be documented. Biennial (every two years)
professional inspections must be conducted by the manufacturer, an architect or engineer. Venue
management is responsible to correct unsafe conditions and enforcement is the responsibility of local
building code officials.

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       It is recommended that staff inspection protocols be developed according to manufacturers
        specifications and that all staff inspections should be documented.

INCIDENT REPORTING - The venue has an adequate Patron Incident Report in place.

       It is recommended that pictures be taken of all patron injuries and contributing factors
        whenever possible and a notation that photos were taken included in the report.

KEY CONTROL - Controlled venue access is required to maintain facility safety and security and to
mitigate risk. Currently venue master keys are issued to the full time staff. Part time staff are issued
zone (sub-master) keys. The liquor storage area is keyed separately and only the liquor vendor has
the key. The venue has two safes with limited management level access; one for concessions and one
for the office. Currently “Show Keys” for the show office and registration area are issued to clients
who now have to sign for the keys. Employees are not required to sign for their issued building keys.

       It is recommended that all facility keys should be inventoried.
       Employees should be required to sign for keys issued and returned.
       Written records of the inventory and key assignments should be maintained.

LOCKDOWN PROCEDURES - Mr. O’Malley stated that the venue has a checklist of lockdown procedures
for the original portion of the River’s Edge but a checklist has not been developed for the new areas.

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      It is recommended that a new checklist be developed that encompasses all venue spaces.
      Staff should be required to complete a lockdown log that notes any unusual activity and any
       damaged door/lock hardware.
      The log should be turned in to the Operations Supervisor daily for any needed follow up.

SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS - The venue has a blended system that encompasses the original system in
the original spaces and a newer system in the added spaces. The venue has no written policy
covering the system access or the dissemination of images captured by the system.

      It is recommended that a written policy be drafted and implemented in order to protect the
       legal interests of the venue. The policy should state the following:
      What type of cameras are allowed (only those that are part of the authorized installation).
      Where they are installed (prohibited in restrooms and dressing rooms).
      Who controls the dissemination of the images (typically the venue Manager)?
      The policy should also include the following stipulations:
       o   Recorded images should be stored for at least 30 days, if technically possible.
       o   Access to the system must be documented on an activity log.

DHS RISK SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a Risk
Self-Assessment Tool (RSAT) for public assembly venues as part of its Infrastructure Protection

      It is recommended that the venue take advantage of this resource in order to help identify
       potential hazards or threats to the venue and to formalize plans for mitigating risk.
      For more information about the program, contact rsat@dhs.gov.
      The DHS also performs on-site, no cost risk assessments conducted by its representatives in
       each state.
      The assessments are confidential and can be used to assist the venue in capital planning for
       any larger risk mitigation projects by identifying priorities.
      For more information contact the DHS Regional Director for the State of Minnesota.

                                                                        Fulfilling promises. Creating success.
November 9, 2012                                                                                     Page 86

10.       CONCLUSION
The City of St. Cloud has a significant investment in the River’s Edge Convention Center, not only in
bricks and mortar but also community pride. The River’s Edge has a dedicated team of professionals
who take great pride in the success that has been achieved for this exceptional venue. The
stakeholders recognize that the River’s Edge is an economic generator for the community and want to
be active partners in taking the venue to the next level of success. Somewhere along the way the
venue and stakeholders lost the spirit of collaboration. While each believes strongly in their mission
statements and capabilities, their lack of a unified approach ultimately serves as a detriment to the
success of the venue and the community as a whole when trying to attract new business for the

VenuWorks has made a number of recommendations that should be considered by the River’s Edge
staff and stakeholders in order to successfully compete locally, regionally and nationally. The findings
in this report represent the professional opinion of VenuWorks. Our findings were based upon first
hand observations, surveys and interviews, along with our general industry knowledge. VenuWorks
also drew upon our expertise in managing and consulting for public assembly venues throughout the
United States in developing this assessment.

As this Operational Assessment is reviewed, VenuWorks would like to offer the following list of
recommended priorities for consideration:

         Fill the management and staffing vacancies.

          o   Determine a structure of oversight.

          o   Evaluate current organizational chart in comparison to VenuWorks recommended
              organizational structure.

         Re-establish the spirit of collaboration focused on the success of the venue and the

         Establish a “Best Practices” guide related to the working relationship between the River’s Edge
          and CVB.

         Modernize the River’s Edge booking and event management computer systems.

         Evaluate rental rates, services provided, fees assessed to vendors based on financial outcomes
          derived from event profit and loss statements.

         Update and assess the River’s Edge Emergency Action Plan in relation to overall venue safety
          and security.

The following chart summarizes the revenues and expenses associated with the recommendations
noted in this Report.

                                                                        Fulfilling promises. Creating success.
November 9, 2012                                                                                     Page 87

                                   OPERATIONAL ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
                                          POTENTIAL FINANCIAL IMPACT

  Catering commission increased to 20% - based on FY11 actual                                                          $145,535
  Year End Profit Projected for FY13                                                                                     $2,300
  Alcohol Beverage Sales - Increased revenues to 60% net with in-
  house services based on FY11 actual
  Staffing - Full Time Salary, Taxes & Benefits
    *Sales and Marketing Manager
    *Event Coordinator
    *Operations Technician Supervisor to Operations Manager
  Staffing - Part time kitchen supervisor                                                                                             $15,000
  Travel and Training - Sales initiatives, training on forklift, first aid,
  AED and part time staff annual training related to security and                                                                     $15,000
  emergency action plan
  Calendar Softw are                                                                                                                  $10,000
  Event Set Up Diagrams Softw are                                                                                                       $500
                                                                       TOTALS                                           $217,220     $180,500

  Recommendations that would be part of a long-term capital
  improvement plan - Costs TBD
   *Wayfinding - Additional and updated signage
   *Public Address System - Venue wide
   *Parking - Signage, staffing, equipment
   *Internet - Capacity and equipment
   *Kitchen - Modifications necessary to bring catering in-house

  *Increased ho tel/mo tel tax revenues generated thro ugh additio nal sales effo rts are no t facto red into these revenues.

We hope that our analysis and recommendations will assist in achieving the long-term levels of
success a first-class venue such as the River’s Edge is capable of reaching.

                                                                                                            Fulfilling promises. Creating success.
November 9, 2012                                                                                                                         Page 88

       Best Practices – Convention Center Sales and Convention Center Operations
       Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems
       Request for Date Availability Draft Form
       Convention Center Operating Expenses 2008 Benchmarking Survey Report
       2010 Operating Expenses – Convention Centers

                                                                   Fulfilling promises. Creating success.
November 9, 2012                                                                                Page 89
                Best Practices

Convention Center Sales and Convention Center
   A Report from the Joint Study Committee

               August 25, 2007
    In January 2006, a group of interested executives from Convention and Visitors Bureaus and 
    representative executives from Convention Center management convened in Phoenix, AZ for an ad 
    hoc meeting to discuss apparent changes in traditional operating models between publically operated 
    convention centers and independent non‐profit destination marketing organizations in their 
    respective communities. This initial discussion led to a formal appointment of a joint study group 
    sponsored by the Destination Marketing Organization International (DMAI), formed in 1914 to 
    enhance the professionalism, effectiveness, and image of destination marketing organizations 
    worldwide and the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) formed in 1895 to provide 
    leadership,  educate, inform and cultivate friendships among individuals involved in the management, 
    operation and support of public assembly facilities. This study group acknowledges that, although the 
    context of this review focuses on the most common structural model in the U.S., other models exist in 
    some domestic and many non‐U.S. destinations. 
    As with any “best practice” review, it is imperative that industry professionals view this body of work as 
    a set of guidelines as it is not intended to speak to individual circumstances that may be prevalent in 
    any specific destination. There is recognition by the study group that different destinations have 
    unique circumstances that influence policy and practice and that these factors may require 
    approaches that differ from those presented herein, however, the adoption of these practices will 
    advance the industry and enhance the convention center‐DMO‐customer relationship. Moreover, the 
    review of “best practices” in this context has one underlying objective that cannot be overstated: 
    provide the 
    destination customer with a seamless positive experience from the onset of the sales cycle 
    through move out. 
    In most domestic U.S. convention destinations, the existing public assembly facilities are most often 
    owned and operated by a public entity and marketed by a non‐profit destination marketing 
    organization (DMO) commonly referred to as a convention and visitors bureau (CVB). In recent years, 
    other management and operational structures have evolved including the emergence of independent 
    profit operating companies contracted for this purpose by facility ownership. Other destinations have 
    developed independent operating authorities to oversee building operations and finances. Although 
    there are a few instances whereby the center operations and destination marketing functions are 
    managed within a single organizational structure, most convention centers, regardless of the 
    operating model, rely at least in part, on sales and marketing support from an independent 
    destination marketing organization (DMO). These organizations, particularly the domestic U.S. DMO’s, 
    often have some exclusive, contracted rights with facility ownership and/or management, to sell the 
    space at some point in the future and beyond, typically 12‐18 months in advance. This booking 
    window is intended to maximize yield by contracting space utilization as far in advance as possible for 
    large users. Even though this structural model may have existed in many destinations for the past 25 
    or more years, the Convention Center‐DMO relationship remains a critical element in destination 
    success and has recently become the topic of discussion on a national level. 
    Many convention centers developed in the last three decades were viewed by municipal ownership as 
    “loss” leaders contributing essential economic activity that drove new tax revenues, economic benefit 
    and employment from other services and establishments like hotels, restaurants and retail stores. It 
    was largely because of this benefit that cities “accepted” annual losses from facility operations 
    because the convention center was the sole or primary source of new business activity in the 
    corresponding central business district. The post 911 environment is somewhat different and 
    municipal governments and other convention center ownership groups now seek to make operating 
    revenues cover a much higher percentage, if not all, operating expenses for a host of reasons. 
    Moreover, expansions authorized prior to and just after 911 have also created greater expectations to 
    meet debt service in the face of shrinking “margins” due to the current “buyers market”. This shift in 
    thinking has placed greater pressure on Center management to more closely monitor its operating 
    expenses and the sales performance of its organizational partner, the DMO. 
    Even those convention centers with significant dedicated public funding are under greater pressure to 
    at least cover expenses or make a profit on their operations. Complicating these transitional conditions 
    is the recognition that supply of available exhibit and meeting space across the nation currently 
    exceeds demand, resulting in a “buyers market”. Pressure to perform financially and discounting rental 
    rates to meet the competition are not necessarily compatible, but offer real considerations none the 
    less. Given this unique environment and the fact that most convention centers are owned and 
    operated by public entities and marketed by independent non‐profit organizations, the quality of the 
    relationship of the 
    two entities has never before been more critical. Moreover, the need to develop a shared vision 
    and common performance objectives has become paramount to success. 
    As stated earlier, as greater pressure for improved financial performance has grown, so has the 
    amount of available space inventory as new communities develop new and expanded convention 
    centers. The resulting “buyers market” has exacerbated an already competitive environment resulting 
    in the need to discount rental rates or increase services that can create a competitive advantage. It is 
    within this context that the relationship between the DMO and convention center management are 
    often at odds as their missions and performance evaluation are based on different, often competing 
    objectives. The DMO management is focused on using the convention center as a tool to sell hotel 
    room nights which is often the source of their revenue and a primary source of revenue to retire 
    bonded debt on the convention center itself. Conversely, convention center management is charged 
    with meeting critical financial operating performance that often limits flexibility in rental pricing to 
    respond to competitive realities or reduce demand on the general fund of the associated 
    governmental authority. When the cyclical “buyers market” arrives the quality of the working 
    relationship between the two entities is particularly critical when competing destinations are able to 
    offer the meetings and trade show market comparable space at below market rates. 
        The mission of the study group is to investigate, evaluate, determine and publish “best 
        practices” in the destination marketing organization/convention center management 
        relationship for the benefit of their customer regardless of the current business or 
        operating model. 
        The study group’s stated objective: regardless of the business model, destination or facility the industry must 
        develop and promote “best practices” in sales and operations that insure a seamless experience 
        for the customer utilizing the destination and the corresponding public assembly facilities. In an effort to 
        define “best practices,” the study group indentified several critical elements that define the scope of their 
                     1.    Convention Sales 
                     2.    Convention Center Operations 
                     3.    Joint Accountability 
                     4.    Joint Advocacy 
                     5.    Funding and Finance 
                     6.    Technology 
                     7.    Training and Human Resource Deployment 
                     8.    Conflict Resolution 
                     9.    Certification and Accreditation 
        Study Group participants were: 
        Destination Marketing Association International             International Association of Assembly Managers 
        Steve Moore, Phoenix, Co‐Chairman                           Peggy Daidakis, Baltimore, Co‐Chairman 
        Richard Scharf, Denver                                      Dittie Guise, Philadelphia 
        Richard Hughes, Kansas City                                 John Christison, Seattle 
        Linda Howell‐DiMario, Arlington, TX                         Jeff Blosser, Portland 
        Daniel Fenton, San Jose                                     Jessie Allen, Orlando 
        Bob Bedell, Indianapolis                                    Barbara Maple, Vancouver 
        Michael Gehrisch, DMAI                                      Dexter King, IAAM 
    Critical Issue I – Conventions and Trade Show Sales and Marketing 
    Regardless of the differences in operating structures and organizational structure, the one common objective 
    typically shared by convention center management and DMO executives is maximized utilization of the available 
    space at the center. This, in some cases, may be the only one common objective shared by the two organizations 
    due to the differences in reporting structure and performance requirements and expectations. This “35,000 foot 
    level” goal can be shared even in light of these differences and is often achieved from different perspectives and 
    through different means. 
    Assuming the objective is mutually embraced, efforts to achieve the objective have not often been carefully 
    coordinated and several critical elements are commonly overlooked due to the differences cited earlier. To 
    achieve the overriding objective, it may be necessary to revisit the relationship from the beginning and initiate 
    efforts that limit barriers to success for both parties. As surprising as it may seem, dialogue between the two 
    parties has often been superficial and without regard to core differences in 
    management focus resulting in a separation of thought and action during the normal course of business, and 
    thereby straining the quality of the relationship. To develop the relationship in such a way as to provide a 
    seamless experience for the customer, efforts to establish and build trust levels between the two parties require 
    several amendments to traditional practices. 
    Start at the beginning…… 
        1.    Make a concentrated effort to establish a healthy working relationship by “wiping the slate clean” 
              and discussing openly the specific objectives of each entity without passing judgment. 
        2.    Commit to the development of a joint marketing plan for the Convention Center recognizing the efforts 
              of the DMO will be focused on convention holding groups outside of the agreed upon timeframe, 
              usually 12‐18 months, and that the efforts of the Convention Center sales staff are likely concentrated 
              inside of the same timeframe. Develop an understanding of the importance of the trade and consumer 
              show market to the financial operating performance of the Convention Center and establish a joint 
              commitment to those local and repeating shows that drive critical operating profit for the Center while 
              maximizing available dates for convention holding groups. Consideration of the needs and required 
              cooperation of other industry partners especially the hotel community must be included in the market 
              planning process. 
        3.    Ensure that the plan properly addresses all market segments and commits to a targeted mix of 
               business that aligns itself with each groups’ organizational performance expectations. 
        4.    Ensure that resource deployment strategy is properly aligned with the stated performance 
              objectives and differentiate specific responsibilities for sales by market segment. 
        5.    The co‐authored marketing plan should be released with a corresponding budget and detail on the full 
               range of marketing disciplines to be utilized including advertising, public relations, print and digital 
               collateral development, promotional activities,  sales trips, FAMS, and trade show attendance, etc. The 
               budget should include both revenue and expense detail including sources of funds. 
        6.    Commit to a joint release of the co‐authored marketing plan/budget and distribute to all local 
               constituencies and stakeholders. Build expectations about performance that properly link the two 
               organization’s joint efforts and the associated community ROI. 
       7.    Consideration should be given to the joint development of a convention center website that 
             includes all available or developed promotional media in support of the product. The website should 
             also include information on all operational considerations required of any 
             customer/user. Build the one‐stop shop for all potential users of both the convention center and the 
             corresponding destination amenities and services available. If an independent site is not practical ensure 
             that the destination site and the convention center site are effectively linked 
             and co‐branded to maximize search results. 
       8.    Revisit, amend and insure that the booking policies and guidelines account for and are aligned with 
             organizational priorities, performance expectations and the jointly agreed upon market strategy. 
             Eliminate barriers to success for both organizations and maintain enough flexibility to promote 
             maximum profitability, utilization of space and room nights booked. 
    Convention Sales 
      1.    The success of the enterprise may be largely contingent upon the development of a “team approach” 
             to the sale of convention center space and other revenue generating services. Delineate market and 
             segment responsibility across sales teams from both organizations and insist on joint accountability for 
             the performance of the enterprise. This accountability formula should benefit all who contribute to 
             the bottom line performance of the space and the associated room nights generated through the sales 
             of events. In other words, the sales team employed by the DMO should have specific revenue goals at 
             the convention center; conversely the sales team employed by the Convention Center should have 
             specific objectives that are aligned with the primary performance objectives of the DMO sales team, 
             usually, confirmed/contracted room nights. Incentive compensation strategies and programs must be 
             mutually beneficial to those team members from either organization with specific sales responsibility. 
      2.    In prospecting potential accounts and new group business for the convention center, DMO sales team 
             members must accept responsibility for “leading” the process. This leadership position requires the 
             collection of the complete history of the clients’ performance in other destinations including all specific 
             revenues generated at convention center facilities (space rental, food and beverage revenue at the 
             facility and headquarter hotel facilities, all exclusively contracted services at the corresponding 
             facilities, guest room pick‐up, etc.) Much of this information can 
             be gleaned from prior event resumes secured from the prospective customer and/or colleagues from 
             other convention centers and DMO’s.  It is assumed that this qualifying process will also lead to an 
             understanding of the client’s decision making process, organizational politics that could influence the 
             site decision and a thorough evaluation of the competitor facilities in play. To the extent information is 
             available; the DMO sales team should also compile detail on the competitive offering being made to 
             the potential customer and overlay this information with 
             the sales strategy to be jointly employed before an offering is extended to the potential 
      3.    With this research in hand, both team representatives should meet to review all research on the 
             prospective business and mutually decide on a sales strategy and the competitive offering prior to the 
             offer being extended. It is advisable to also employ a business value analysis model to assist in the 
             evaluation of the potential and to guide the structure of any offer. Moreover, should the sales cycle 
             include an inspection of the facilities, the team members from both organizations should conduct a 
             pre‐inspection briefing to review all pertinent data and confirm details of the inspection and the sales 
             strategy to insure communication on the account potential is understood by all parties. 
        4.    It is the incumbent responsibility of the Convention Center sales team to advise and consult with key 
               center operations personnel during the sales cycle to insure the pending offer meets operational 
               capability and compatibility. Any additional data secured from this consultation 
               must  be  shared  with  the  DMO  representative  on  the  account.  A  joint  review  of  other  business 
               contracted during or near the proposed dates should be conducted as a matter of policy. This phase 
               of the sales cycle will identify barriers that will impact the offering and may raise issues relative to 
               maximum facility utilization and customer satisfaction. 
        5.    Every effort should be made by key executives of both the DMO and Convention Center to interface 
               with any prospective customer during the solicitation process particularly during site visits or 
    Critical Issue II ‐ Convention Center Operations 
    Successful convention center operations require competitive “customer friendly” policies and practices in light 
    of the stated goal of delivering a quality, seamless experience for facility users. Recognition of the value of a 
    repeat customer versus the expense associated with replacing one with a new piece of business is a critical 
    principle linked to successful convention/event sales and facility performance. With this in mind, embracing a 
    set of operating principles and practices that maximize revenue opportunities and deliver profitable and quality 
    customer experiences is an objective shared by Center and DMO management. 
    Many customers have expressed frustration resulting from the apparent lack of coordinated “hand‐off” to the 
    operations team after the contracting phase has been completed. There is recognition by all involved in this 
    study that it is necessary to build communication systems that insure the customer is not “lost” in the system 
    once the customer file moves from the booking office to event planning and supervision. The following elements 
    are an integral part of insuring the most desirable customer experience while maximizing operating profitability. 
        1.    Independent customer feedback confirms the reality that event service personnel are responsible for 
               delivering the product the sales team has promised; however, most convention center operating 
               structures limit the operating authority of these key personnel.  Efforts to empower event service 
               personnel responsible for managing the onsite relationship with the user should be pursued. The 
               facility user recognizes and appreciates this “single contact” approach and the associated efficiency 
               once the event commences. 
        2.    All key convention center operating personnel with regular customer contact should be certified and 
               cross‐trained to minimize the duplication of effort and customer confusion often found during events. 
        3.    Critical communication between the sales and operating personnel should be mandated by 
               management early in the sales process to ensure an offering that is consistent with building 
               capability and event compatibility especially when more than one user will be conducting business 
               in the facility at the same time. 
        4.    Pre‐convention meetings, including representatives of all internal departments and third party event 
               sub‐contractors and vendors, should take place in advance of any contracted event. Agendas should 
               include a careful review of the master event resume, a discussion of the objectives of the event, a 
               review of any special needs of the planner or attendees, a review of those outside service contractors 
               and their specific role in supplying the event and to confirm a chain of command relative to 
        5.    Convention Center operating personnel should conduct a detailed training program for all sales 
              personnel to insure proper understanding of facility capability, event compatibility and operating 
              policies. It is critical that sales personnel understand and demonstrate proficiency regarding what 
               space components should and should not be sold together, and what facility components have 
              limited utility for specific types of events. Training should include detailed explanation of the pricing 
              structure and a thorough understanding of all revenue generating services that are offered by the 
              Center to the prospective customer. A review of all exclusive contracts and their respective business 
              implications to the facility and the DMO should also be reviewed. 
        6.    Any change in operating policy or procedure, pricing structure, or exclusively contracted services should 
               be reviewed with DMO management and sales prior to implementation. An open review of proposed 
               changes particularly with regard to the market implications and potential effects on competitive 
               position should be mutually understood and agreeable prior to implementation. 
        7.    Efforts to seek systems and processes that consolidate customer billing/invoicing should be pursued for 
              the benefit of customer convenience and management efficiency. This process may require 
               amendments to existing contractual agreements between the Center and the local vendors. 
        8.    Pursue systems that consolidate and share customer feedback and evaluation data between the DMO 
               and the Convention Center operating personnel. The evaluation process should seek a customer review 
               of the full destination experience. 
        9.    Efforts to cross‐train event management personnel at the Center and convention service personnel 
               at the DMO should be pursued in an effort to guarantee consistent and informed communication 
               with the customer. Moreover, the efforts to create a sense of team between these two 
               departments can strengthen the overall impression of the destination from the customer’s 
    Critical Issue III – Joint Accountability 
    Building a successful relationship between the DMO and Convention Center management in many communities 
    is often challenged by the fact that the governing body of each organization is typically independent of the other. 
    This structural “distance” is often quite intentional but not necessarily for reasons that may seem obvious to the 
    casual observer. In the case of the DMO, it has a broad industry/business constituency that it must support in 
    addition to the public sector partner that often is not only the owner of the public assembly facilities, but the 
    DMO’s primary funding partner. The public funding in most cases is often tied directly or indirectly with one or 
    more of the same public sources that either retire the bonded debt on the facilities or support its operations. This 
    funding relationship, often ties the two organizations “at the hip”, however managements’ performance 
    expectations are typically driven from two independent perspectives by two independent governing bodies. This 
    context leads to different performance objectives for the two management teams and is a systemic source of 
    problems that often cause a division of thought and practice in marketing and operating the facility. Moreover, 
    public administrators with direct oversight of the Convention Center and contractual oversight of the DMO 
    funding source rarely understand critical differences between operating facilities and marketing them within a 
    competitive marketplace. The task force believes that some measure of joint accountability will enhance the 
    relationship and build bridges between marketing and operating functions independent of the structural 
            1.    With the support of the governing bodies of both organizations, develop performance objectives 
                  that are shared by the management of both organizations. This will promote broader perspective 
                  and increase ownership of each other’s successes. Convention Center management’s 
                  performance objectives should include indicators that are typically associated with the DMO, 
                  room nights confirmed, for example.  Similarly, DMO management’s performance objectives 
                  should include indicators that are tied directly to fiscal successes at the Convention Center. 
                  Common performance objectives will incent management of both organizations to look more 
                  carefully at how the convention Center is booked and for what type of events. 
            2.    Within the context of this partnership, jointly author and publish the annual marketing and 
                  business plan. The plan should include the complete review of the effort across all market 
                  segments including the desired mix of business (public and other trade shows, association 
                  conventions, corporate meetings, local events, etc). The plan should define the measures of 
                  success for both the DMO and Convention Center management/operations as they specifically 
                  relate to the plan. Convention Center management must recognize that the DMO will need to 
                  continue its independent market plan development to support the balance of its constituency and 
                  address both independent and group leisure marketing, and small meeting accounts that may 
                  impact its member hotels and other stakeholders. 
            3.    Within the same context, the year end performance or annual report detailing specific 
                  performance successes related to the joint marketing efforts should be co‐published and 
                  simultaneously released to all constituencies, both public and private. 
    Critical Issue IV ‐ Joint Advocacy 
    In many destinations, the partnership between the DMO and the Convention Center has not developed to the 
    degree contemplated by the Study Group. The current environment fostered by governing bodies creates a 
    counterproductive and competitive situation relative to funding since marketing and operating funds often come 
    from the same source. Unfortunately, this competition for funding leads to organizational “separation” and 
    mistrust. To achieve the most desirable framework for a productive relationship, joint efforts to co‐promote 
    organizational value to all constituencies should be pursued. How often is convention center management asked 
    to underwrite or help fund public projects in the 
    downtown core, like a new fire station or police precinct that public administrators justify as serving the 
    interests of the convention center or its patrons? How frequently is convention center management silent on 
    the DMO’s budget request from public sources? 
    The DMO‐Convention Center partnership, seeking best practices in marketing and operations should pursue 
    opportunities to publically support the mission of the counterpart and defend the joint program that offers 
    economic vitality to the municipality it serves. 
        1.    Conduct ongoing research through credible third parties to substantiate the full economic impacts of 
              the overall convention enterprise. Establish an understanding of the historical contribution to the 
              area’s economic base including employment, state and local tax generation and employment data. Use 
              these data as the basis of a public and community relations program that substantiates the value and 
              importance of the industry on the local economy. 
        2.    Develop a model that defines transient economic productivity and compares the convention and 
               visitor enterprise with other economic generators within the local economy. Build a case for the limited 
               demand  on  public  services  generated  by  the  industry  and  work  to  elevate  the  enterprise  as  an 
               “untouchable” public investment in the local community. 
        3.    Work to expand and cross pollinate the Boards of Directors of both organizations so that 
               influential business leadership is engaged and understands the economic realities, and the 
               synergistic relationship between the organizations. 
        4.    In those circumstances where the public funding originates from the same jurisdiction or tax source 
               (transient occupancy tax) that supports both organizations, co‐promote and advocate the needs of 
               each organization within the competitive context of both the marketplace and the program funding 
               needs of that jurisdiction. 
    Critical Issue V – Funding and Finance 
    One of the many systemic challenges threatening the success of the relationship between convention center 
    operations and convention sales is the apparent lack of communication and understanding of the funding 
    requirements of each party. Convention Center management is most always focused on the management of 
    operating costs relative to operating income sources. Many DMOs fail to neither fully appreciate nor account for 
    the revenue requirements necessary to meet operating objectives at the Center. The DMO focus most 
    commonly, is within the competitive context and centered on what must be done to capture and confirm a new 
    piece of business. This is at the heart of the challenge in building a healthy and productive relationship between 
    the two entities and should be addressed mutually in an effort for both parties and the enterprise as a whole to 
    enjoy targeted successes. 
        1.    The DMO must support the Center management in redefining measures of success. To this end efforts 
              to structure financial reporting from the Convention Center that includes the full and direct economic 
               impact of the business activity hosted at the Center. Strictly relying on the Center P & L as a measure 
               of success undermines the justification for investing in public assembly facilities at the onset. These 
              facilities are economic development tools that may require ongoing operating support that is dwarfed 
              by the economic spending they create. They are in effect, export industries that pull investment into 
               the core of the community through the sale of goods and services purchased with dollars generated 
               outside of the community. The resulting economic boost drives new public tax revenues that support 
              public services which the local citizen benefits from, but does not have to support through their own 
               tax payments. These new taxes reduce the burden on the tax payer and benefit the public jurisdiction. 
        2.  Convention Center management must acknowledge and support the DMO funding structure and the 
              sales and marketing requirements associated with the DMO’s other community and industry 
        3.    The enterprise should join hands in protecting against any new or increased industry related taxation 
               that does not directly benefit the enterprise and/or related projects or the convention customer. To 
               this end, the DMO and Convention Center management should seek to develop a process that 
               requires some level of industry oversight for the purpose and use of any industry specific new or 
               increased tax source. 
        4.    Ensure that all sales personnel, regardless of market segment responsibility, fully understand the 
               financial management realities and responsibilities of the Convention Center including revenues and 
               expenses.  In this regard the entities should jointly develop a business evaluation model and apply the 
               model to the sales research process to gain an understanding of all potential revenue streams 
               represented by each potential customer program. 
        5.    Establish a business opportunity fund that is part of the annual budgeting cycle. Both organizations 
               should contribute to a reserve account to be used to offset necessary competitive offerings from time 
               to time. Any allocation of funds from this account should be mutually agreeable based on the 
               competitive review conducted by sales prior to the initial offering or in response to a subsequent 
               counter offer. 
        6.    The DMO should assist the Convention Center management team in establishing flexibility from the 
               public administrator in any internal fund transfers that are in response to competitive position. Many 
               publically run public assembly facilities, although structurally aligned with a city, county or authority 
               must operate in a highly competitive business environment. Educating public administrators as to the 
               critical requirements related to “speed to market” is necessary in meeting overall sales and customer 
               service performance objectives. 
        7.    Seek to jointly develop a community ROI model that links direct expenditures and associated tax 
               revenues with the overall operating performance (P&L) of the Convention Center. Divert public 
               opinion from the “public subsidy” or “management failure” mentality by focusing on the full, direct 
               impact of expenditures generated through the attraction of convention holding groups and trade 
               shows. This impact standard should include direct expenditures, tax revenue and direct employment 
        8.    Establish policy that commits both entities to common definitions and standards with regard to ROI 
               formulas and reporting benchmarks. Eliminate common references and reporting formulas that 
               reference economic impact and commit to standards that reflect direct expenditures, and associated 
               tax revenue generation and employment. 
    Critical Issue VI – Technology 
    Technological resources are the cornerstones of any successful sales and marketing effort in the 21st Century. 
    New expectations on the part of the customer are commonplace and the resulting demand for the interactive 
    delivery of information is driving expansion of the new marketing resources like never before. Simultaneously, 
    event management systems that aggregate all customer data including contracting, master event resumes, 
    billing and invoicing, labor, exhibit layout, utilities, and box office, etc., are becoming the standard. Recognizing 
    these transitions in standards and expectations is paramount to the ongoing success of the sales and operations 
    relationship. Several practices can be employed to maintain pace with the available technology and anticipate 
    the inevitable upgrades that will surely follow course. 
        1.    Ensure that the DMO customer relations management system (CRM) and the Convention Center event 
               management system are compatible and that the data can be accessed at least on a “read only” basis. 
               The entire sales and marketing team must have 24‐7 access to the booking calendar and file data. 
               Ideally, file updates on any account should automatically populate the systems to avoid the duplication 
               of effort. 
        2.    Efforts to develop systems that share a common database should be pursued to increase efficiency and 
               sales productivity. 
        3.    Sales and marketing technology including virtual tours of the Convention Center, interactive 
               mapping capability, digitally enhanced and automated email distribution systems that have tracking 
               capability are some examples of the tools that will assist in the sales process and the event 
               marketing necessary to support the customer. 
        4.    Seek systems and processes that integrate all customer related account information from the lead 
               stage through contracting, event management, post event reporting and invoicing. 
                   5.    DMO sales representatives must have access and be permitted to place space holds on behalf of 
               the client on a tentative basis pending formal approval from Center management. All approvals for 
               space holds within the approved booking window should be made within 24 hours and confirmed 
    Critical Issue VII – Training and Deployment 
    Management interests from both the DMO and the Convention Center committed to achieving a seamless and 
    positive experience for the customer share a desire to eliminate a duplication of effort. Identifying efficiencies 
    through cross training and committing to a thorough understanding of functional differences between staff 
    roles at both organizations may favorably impact deployment decisions. Training efforts within the joint sales 
    effort and convention service/event management areas are paramount to the success of the enterprise. The 
    following practices may enhance efficiency and allow greater flexibility in achieving objectives. 
        •  Members of both teams should have “360 degree” product knowledge of both the Convention Center 
           and the larger destination. This requires cross‐training of all team members that interface with the 
           client at all levels from lead development through move‐out. 
        •  Management should jointly develop and distribute customer service standards and expectations for all 
           team members with direct customer contact. 
        •  Jointly administer and disseminate deployment strategy that delineates roles and responsibilities 
           for all team members that are engaged with the client at every level in the process. 
        •  Management  at  each  entity  should  consider  involving  the  other  in  the  interview  process  when 
           selecting  candidates  for  key  positions.  This  improves  communication  and  builds  ownership  and 
           support in the development of the human resource deployed in the enterprise. 
        •  Consider the formation of some on‐going formal customer advisory system that allows for 
           continuing education on the changing customer needs and expectations. Use this advisory 
           system to evaluate sales processes and procedures and to identify needed infrastructure 
           enhancements that improve competitive position. 
        •  At least twice per year, bring the customer contact teams together and discuss local industry issues to 
           reinforce the joint effort and reaffirm the importance of the convention enterprise; its role in producing 
           economic vitality for the community and the unique and important role the team plays in the 
           community’s success. These joint sessions increase the opportunities to build a sense of team between 
           all personnel involved in the enterprise. 
    Critical Issue VIII – Conflict Mediation 
    Although the study group believes that with common objectives and a joint planning platform, conflicts can be 
    minimized, however, there are times that due to the nature of the structural and functional differences between 
    the DMO and the Convention Center, circumstances related to a specific account or group of accounts may 
    polarize the respective management teams. Other issues related to policy or the methods by which policy is 
    applied may also be the source of conflict from time to time. If the relationship has developed appropriate trust 
    levels and disagreements regarding policies and/or bookings arise, employ the use of an independent third party 
    to mediate and assist in the decision making process. This practice may assist in maintaining appropriate 
    separation, insure the right of difference of opinion and protect independent organizational perspective. If 
    efforts to establish a successful working relationship based on trust has been openly pursued and practiced by 
    both management teams, mediation is less likely to undermine the quality of the association. 
    Critical Issue IX ‐ Certification and Accreditation 
    Within the spirit of this initial joint study effort, members of the study team believe that ongoing 
    training and education is vital for the best interests of the industry to be properly served. Equally 
    important is the realization that the primary objective of the study is to enhance the customer 
    experience regardless of the destination of choice. With this in mind, members of the task force have 
    suggested through this effort that the Board’s of Directors of both IAAM and DMAI formally encourage 
    the respective education committee chairs to pursue programming that will certify convention sales 
    personnel and convention center operating executives in the best practices identified as a part of this 
    body of work. Further, efforts to offer formal credentials to both the DMO and the Convention Center 
    who embrace these best practices should be pursued and adopted by the respective certification and/or 
    accreditation programs and employed by the members of both organizations. 
    The DMAI/IAAM study Group wishes to extend special recognition and thanks to Dave Radcliffe, Principal, 
    The Radcliffe Company, for his efforts in facilitating and coordinating the work of the Study Group and in the 
    preparation of this document. The joint study team also wishes to acknowledge David O’Neal, Conventional 
    Wisdom, and Doug Ducate, The Augusta Group for their contributions to background. 

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           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

               Equipment Item                         Life                      Remarks 
Boiler Plant                                                    
Shell and tube boilers (Steam and HTHW)                20      Water treatment is very important 
Water tube boilers (Steam and HTHW)                    25      Water treatment is very important 
Electrode / electric boilers (Steam and HTHW)          25      Water treatment is very important 
Shell and tube boilers (MTHW/LTHW)                     20       
Water tube boilers (MTHW/LTHW)                         25       
Electrode/electric boilers (MTHW/LTHW)                 25       
Cast iron sectional boilers (MTHW/LTHW)                25       
Steel Boilers (MTHW/LTHW)                              15       
Condensing boilers (MTHW/LTHW)                         15       
Refrigeration Plant – medium to large                           
Centrifugal chiller                                    15      See note 1 
Reciprocating chiller                                  20      See note 1 
Screw chiller                                          20      See note 1 
Absorption chiller                                     20       
Open type cooling towers                                        
Plastic coated metal cooling tower                     25      Consider thickness, bonding and quality of 
                                                               plastic coating 
Galvanized metal cooling tower                        12       Consider thickness and quality of 
Timber constructed cooling tower                      10       Consider quality of timber preservation 
Ceramic cooling tower                                 35        
Plastic constructed cooling tower                     20       Consider quality and thickness of plastic 
Epoxy treated metal cooling tower                     15        
Stainless steel cooling tower                         30       Consider quality and thickness of stainless 
External heat rejection for refrigeration plant                 
Air cooled condensers                                 20        
Evaporative condensers                                20        
Air blast dry air coolers – plastic coated metal      25       Consider quality and thickness of plastic 
Air blast dry air cooler – galvanized metal           20       Consider quality and thickness of 
Air blast dry air cooler – epoxy treated metal        20        
Boiler plant auxiliaries                                        
Oil storage tanks – external protection               20       Depends on thickness of metal and 
                                                               corrosion protection 
Oil storage tanks – underground                       15       Depends on thickness of metal and 
                                                               corrosion protection 
Combustion controls                                   12        

Page 1 of 8 
           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Boiler electrodes                             8     
Feed pumps                                   15     
Water treatment                              15     
Atmospheric gas burners                      15     
Forced air gas burners                       12     
Oil burners                                  12     
Solid fuel handling plant                    15    Conveyor system up to 20 years 
High temperature fans                        15     
Instrumentation                              10     
Oil distribution system for boiler plant     15     
Gas distribution system for boiler plant     20     
Mild steel flue                              15    Depends on thickness of metal and 
                                                   corrosion protection 
Stainless steel flue                         20    Check quality of stainless steel 
Brick or concrete chimney – external         40     
Brick or concrete chimney – internal         50     
Steel chimney – external                     30    Depends on the thickness of metal and 
                                                   corrosion protection 
Water Tanks                                         
Cast iron water cisterns                     35     
Mild steel (treated) water cistern           15    Not for domestic or drinking purposes 
Plastic water cistern                        35    High quality structural support is necessary 
Galvanized metal water cistern               12     
Ductwork systems and components                     
Ductwork (galvanized)                        30     
Ductwork (Plastic)                           20    Mechanical damage and expansion need 
                                                   to be considered 
Ductwork (flexible circular)                 20    Mechanical damage needs to be 
                                                   considered also cleaning difficulties 
Fans (heavy duty centrifugal)                25     
Fans (centrifugal)                           20     
Fans (axial)                                 20     
Fans (propeller)                             15     
Fans (roof mounted units)                    15     
Fire dampers (curtain type)                  12     
Coils ‐ heating (copper fins)                25     
Coils ‐ cooling (copper fins)                25    Consider operational duty – wet surfaces 
Coils – heating (aluminum fins)              15    Consider quality and thickness of 
                                                   aluminum fins and exposure to adverse 
                                                   external conditions 
Coils – cooling (aluminum fins)              15    Consider quality and thickness of 
                                                   aluminum fins and exposure to adverse 
                                                   external conditions 
Coils – heating (galvanized)                 12     

Page 2 of 8 
           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Spray cooler coils (copper electro‐tinned) and    15     
Eliminators (galvanized)                          10     
Eliminators (plastic)                             15     
Eliminators (stainless steel)                     20     
Coils (electric)                                  10     
Thermal wheels                                    15     
Filters (automatic) – excluding media             15     
Filters (panel) – excluding media                 20     
Filters (electrostatic)                           15     
Filters (activated carbon – excluding media       15     
Grilles and diffusers (anodized aluminum)         25     
Grilles and diffusers (painted metal)             30     
Plate recuperator                                 20     
Dampers manual                                    20     
Dampers automatic                                 15     
Steam humidifier (direct)                         10    Maintenance is very important 
Steam humidifier (electric generated)              8    Maintenance is very important 
Water spray humidifier                            12    Early signs of corrosion must be dealt with 
Pan type humidifier                               10    Early signs of corrosion must be dealt with 
Chemical dehumidifiers (excluding medium)         15     
External louvers (anodized aluminum)              20    Regular cleaning is important to avoid 
Attenuators                                       25    Consider type of lining, adhesive and fixing 
                                                        of acoustic material 
Packaged air handling / conditioning units        20     
Packaged air handling / conditioning units        15    Consider type of corrosion protection 
Air conditioning terminal units                          
Fan coil units (heating and cooling)              15     
Induction units                                   20     
Terminal reheat units                             20     
VAV terminal units (bellows type)                 15     
VAV terminal units (box type)                     15     
Double duct terminal units                        15     
Chilled ceiling panels                            25    Flexible water pipe work connections – 
                                                        depending on type – 10 years 
Chilled beams                                     20    Flexible water pipe work connections – 
                                                        depending on type – 10 years 
Ventilated ceilings                               25     
VRV units                                         10     
VVT fan powered terminal units                    15     
Split systems                                     10     
Heating terminal units                                   

Page 3 of 8 
           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Radiators (cast iron)                          25     
Radiators (steel)                              15    Water condition is important 
Radiators (2mm thick steel)                    20    Water condition is important 
Radiators (aluminum)                           20    Water condition is important and materials 
                                                     in system 
Radiator painting                               5    Use correct type of paint 
Unit heaters (steam and hot water)             15     
Unit heaters (gas and electric)                10     
Radiant heaters (steam and hot water)          20     
Radiant heaters (electric)                     10     
Fan coil units (heating only)                  15     
Natural convectors water                       20     
Under floor heating with concrete encased      25    Suggest a long‐term bonded warranty is 
steel pipes                                          obtained – corrosion prevention of steel 
Under floor heating with concrete encased      30    Suggest a long‐term bonded warranty in 
plastic pipes                                        obtained – consider quality of plastic pipes 
Under floor electric heating                   20     
Ceiling heating (hot water)                    25     
Ceiling heating (electric)                     15     
Electric storage heaters                       10     
Pipe work systems and components                      
Open pipe work systems (steel)                 25     
Closed pipe work systems (steel)               30     
Open pipe work systems (copper)                35    Consider tube thickness and quality of 
Closed pipe work systems (copper)              40    Consider tube thickness and quality of 
Open pipe work systems (steel galvanized)      25     
Closed pipe work systems (steel galvanized)    30     
Refrigerant pipe work systems                  20    See note 1 
Steam pipe work systems                        25     
Condensate pipe work system                    12    Consider type of material, wall thickness 
                                                     and water treatment 
Condensate collecting vessel                   12    Consider type of material, wall thickness 
                                                     and water treatment 
Open expansion vessel                          10     
Closed expansion vessel with membrane          15     
Water treatment plant                          15     
Water treatment control and measurement        10     
Pumps ( base mounted)                          20     
Pumps (pipe work mounted)                      15     
Pumps (flanged)                                10     
Pumps (sump and well)                          12     

Page 4 of 8 
           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Pumps (condensate)                                 10     
Bellows flexible (steel)                           10     
Bellows flexible (rubber)                           8     
Bellows expansion (steel)                          10     
Valves (flangeless)                                20     
Valves (flanged)                                   15     
Calorifiers                                        20     
Heat exchangers (shell and tube)                   25     
Ductwork and vessel thermal insulation             30    Consider type of fixing and mechanical 
(blanket type)                                           damage 
Pipe work and vessel thermal insulation            30    Consider fire and smoke rating 
Drainage and Public Health                                
Internal waste, sanitary and rainwater drainage    35     
(cast iron) 
Internal waste, sanitary and rainwater drainage    40     
Internal waste, sanitary and rainwater drainage    20    Consider mechanical damage & any 
                                                         expansion requirements 
Below ground cast iron drainage                    45    Consider possibility of ground and 
                                                         structural movement 
Below ground plastic drainage                      40    Consider mechanical damage 
Above ground rainwater – plastic                   25     
Sanitary                                           25     
Fire fighting and protection systems                      
Alternate wet and dry sprinklers                   20    Consider corrosion 
Wet sprinklers                                     25    Consider corrosion 
Wet risers                                         20     
Dry risers                                         25     
Foam systems                                       15     
Portable fire equipment                             8     
Fire hose reels                                    15     
Fire hydrants                                      30     
Fire alarms (electrical)                           20     
  Battery support for fire alarm                  10     
Fire dampers (curtain type)                        15     
Computer room fire extinguishing system            15    Consider environmental impact and 
                                                         possible phasing out of fire extinguishing 
Smoke and heat detectors                           10     
Electrical distribution network                           
Main supply switchgear and distribution            30     
Transformers (dry type)                            30     

Page 5 of 8 
            Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Transformer (oil type)                          30     
Mains cables (permanent installations)          30     
Electrical installations in buildings                  
Final circuits and outlets                      20     
Lighting installations (internal)               20    Low voltage decorative may be limited to 
                                                      10 years 
Lighting installations (external)               15     
Emergency lighting                              20     
Electrical motors (general)                     15    Smaller motors may have a shorter life 
                                                      span – check with supplier 
Motor speed control devices                     10     
Motor control centers                           20     
Electrical generating plant                            
Alternators                                     25     
Continuously rated gas/oil engines (frequent    15     
Continuously rated gas/oil engines (standby)    25     
Continuously rated steam engines (frequent      25     
Continuously rated steam turbines (frequent     25     
Oil storage                                     30     
Controls & instrumentation                      20     
Mains failure sensors                           15     
Battery support                                 10     
Building management and controls                       
Personal computer                               10     
PC operating system                              8    See note 2 
BMS operating system                             8     
Autodial modem                                   8     
Printer                                          5    With frequent use operating costs are 
Local Area Network                              25    Should be developed with additional cable 
                                                      wireways. See note 2 
Network communications devices                  10    Proprietary devices or gateways may 
                                                      require support. See note 2 
Damper actuators                                10     
Intelligent stations                            10    See note 2 
Sensors                                          8    Periodic testing and calibration should be 
Control valves                                  15     
Control dampers                                 15     

Page 6 of 8 
           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Electronic/pneumatic interfaces                 10     
Utility metering                                20     
Remote display panels                           10    See note 2 
Hardwiring between devices                      25     
Controls General                                       
Pneumatic controls                              20     
Electric controls                               20     
Electronic controls                             15     
Hydraulic valve actuators                       10     
Pneumatic valve actuators                       15     
Self‐contained valve actuators                   8     
Miscellaneous electrical equipment and plant           
Lead acid batteries (sealed)                     5     
Nickel alkaline batteries (vented)              20     
Battery chargers                                20     
Clock systems                                   15     
Communications systems                          20     
Public address systems                          20     
Intruder alarms and intercommunications         10     
Uninterrupted power supply systems              20     
Closed circuit television and video             10     
Television, cable and satellite systems         15    See note 2 
Lightning protection                            25     
Lighting control and management systems         15     
Continuous flow electric heaters                12     
Electrical water heaters                        12    Consider local water condition and 
                                                      conditioning equipment 
Electrical storage heaters with ventilation     20     
Electrical floor heating                        25     
Electrical heater (on peak)                      8     
Window unit air conditioner                      8     
Residential single or split package air         10     
Commercial through the wall air conditioner     10     
Water cooled air conditioner                    15     
Residential air to air heat pump                10     
Commercial air to air heat pump                 15     
Commercial water to air heat pump               15     
Miscellaneous mechanical equipment and                 
Kitchen (cooking and support systems)           15     
Laundries (equipment and support systems)       20     
Water features                                  15    Water treatment is very important 

Page 7 of 8 
           Life Expectancy for building services plant, equipment and systems 

Computer room air conditioning                  15     
Hand dryers                                      5     
Drinking fountains                              10     
Vending machines                                 8     
Sanitary towel waste container                  10     
Food/container waste container                   5     
Waste paper shredders / disposal                10     
Stair / Lobby ventilation                       20     
Fire protection (pipes and ducts)               20    Damage to fire protection should be 
                                                      examined at frequent intervals 
Incinerators                                    15     
Gas or oil fired furnaces                       15    Selection of heat exchanger material is 
Domestic gas fire warm air heaters              15     
Domestic gas fire boilers                       15     
Domestic gas fired combination boilers          10     
Gas fired hot water (storage and continuous)    12     
Gas fires                                        8     
Vertical transportation                                
Elevators                                       15     
Escalators                                      15     
Access systems (door releases, card readers,    10     
key pads) 
CCTV cameras                                    10     
CCTV control systems and multiplexers           15     
Infrared lighting                               10     
Intruder detection                              15     


Note 1:The phasing out of CFS’s and HCFC’s may require replacement of equipment earlier than 
       originally planned. 

Note 2:Technology changes can influence early replacement 

Page 8 of 8 
                          RIVER’S EDGE CONVENTION CENTER
                                      REQUEST FOR DATE AVAILABILITY

Requestor’s                                                                Date of
Name                                                                       Request
Requestor’s                                                                Telephone
E-mail                                                                     Number
Group                                                                      Move In
Name                                                                       Date(s)
Event                                                                      Event
Name                                                                       Date(s)
Contact                                                                    Move Out
Person                                                                     Date(s)
Contact                                                                    Contact
E-mail                                                                     Telephone
Contact                                                                    Estimated
Address                                                                    Attendance
Event                          Conference        Tradeshow         Reception             Other
Type                           Convention        Exposition        Banquet            (describe)
Seating                                                            Booths (list number and
                Theater        Classroom         Banquet
Style                                                            size of booths required)

                Opportunities Suite        Wilson Suite              Stockinger Suite               Herberger Suite

                Bell Room                  First American Rm         Swisshelm Room                 Coborn Room
Rooms           Alexander Room             Thielman Room             Whitney Room                   Helgeson Room
Needed          Weidner Room               Board Room A              Mitchell Room                  Metz Roth Room
                Clark Room                 Board Room B              Schilpin Room                  Marsh Room
                Edelbrock Room             Board Room C                                             Fandel Room

                Terry Haws Halls A&Bs               Terry Haws Hall A                       Terry Haws Hall B
              Move In Date                       Move In Date                            Move In Date
              Show Date                          Show Date                               Show Date
Exhibit    Move Out Date                         Move Out Date                          Move Out Date
Needed          Terry Haws Hall C                   Glenn Carlson Hall D                    Other Rooms or Spaces
              Move In Date                       Move In Date                           Describe
              Show Date                          Show Date
           Move Out Date                         Move Out Date

Additional Client

River’s Edge
                          Hold Placed on Dates       Dates Not Available             Other (list)
Action Taken
River’s Edge                                                                   Date of
Representative                                                                 Action
Convention Center Operating Expenses
2008 Benchmarking Survey Report

                                Convention Center / Exhibit Halls Committee
                                                  Venue Research Institute
                      Convention Center Operating Expenses
                        2008 Benchmarking Survey Report

Table of Contents

Overview................................................................................ 3
Results ................................................................................... 6
    SECTION I: Occupancy ............................................................................................................. 6
    SECTION II: Building Cleaning Expense ................................................................................... 8
    SECTION III: Building Security and Traffic Control Expense .................................................. 10
    SECTION IV: Room Set-Up Expense ...................................................................................... 12
    SECTION V: Repair and Maintenance Expense ..................................................................... 13
    SECTION VI: Grounds Maintenance Expense ........................................................................ 15
    SECTION VII: Event Management/Coordination Expense .................................................... 16
    SECTION VIII: Building Utilities Expense ............................................................................... 17
    SECTION IX: Sales and Marketing Expense ........................................................................... 18
    SECTION X: Property and General Liability Insurance Expense ............................................ 20
    SECTION XI: Other Facility Comparisons ............................................................................... 21
Conclusion............................................................................ 23
Survey Instrument ............................................................... 24

                                                                                                                         Page 2 of 28
                                                                                © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
                  Convention Center Operating Expenses
                    2008 Benchmarking Survey Report

On behalf of IAAM, the Convention Center / Exhibit Hall Committee (CC/EH Committee) and the
Venue Research Institute (VRI), we are pleased to present the Convention Center Operating
Expenses 2008 Benchmarking Survey Report (the “Report”). It is the goal of IAAM, the CC/EH
Committee and the VRI to provide members with operational expense metrics that can be used
to assist managers in improving facility operations through facility performance benchmarking.

We thank you very much for participating in this groundbreaking survey, and are pleased to
present your facility’s result s to you along with consolidated results from all other participating

The 2008 Benchmarking Survey was developed in part from previous benchmarking work
performed over the last few years. Most recently, the Convention Center Expense
Benchmarking Pilot Survey Report was published in June 2007. The feedback gathered from
the 2007 Survey and conclusions of the Report laid the groundwork for the 2008 Survey.

Once the decision was made to proceed with the 2008 Survey, the survey tool and overall
project were mapped out. IAAM contracted with Industry Insights to serve as an independent
party providing the survey link and collecting the survey data. The survey link was distributed
to 260 convention centers throughout the United States and Canada in August 2008. Industry
Insights collected survey data during August and September, assisted by IAAM’s follow up e-
mails and letters encouraging participation. With initial data collection completed, the survey
database was turned over to the University of Dallas Sport and Entertainment MBA program.
With the support of graduate assistants and faculty, the database entered a phase of
verification and calculation of pre-determined metrics for the individual expense categories.
This phase of work was then turned over to IAAM World Headquarters for final cleanup and
report writing.

The 2008 Benchmarking Survey Report’s results are based on responses from a total of 78
facilities, representing an overall survey response rate of 30%.

The survey was designed to collect data on a wide variety of operational expense categories
and to calculate and present the two or three most useful metrics within each expense

                                                                                                   Page 3 of 28
                                                            © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
category. The Report presents this information to you. The survey also asked a variety of
additional questions of interest. The Report also presents the responses from these questions.

The survey results are broken out into three different groupings based on exhibit hall size. This
is determined by the significant operational differences among large, medium and small-sized
convention centers, and the desire to make the survey results more meaningful to you. The
groupings include facilities with over 500,000 gross square feet of exhibit space, those with
100,000 to 500,000 gross square feet of exhibit space, and those with less than 100,000 gross
square feet of exhibit hall space.

The 2008 Survey was limited to United States and Canadian convention centers. Due to the
virtual one-for-one relationship between the U.S. and Canadian dollars during the survey
period, exchange rate adjustments to the survey data were not deemed necessary.

The survey data collection and benchmark metric calculation process was a very extensive
multi-step process. In the initial data collection process, significant effort was made to ensure
that obvious errors or missing responses in the data were followed up and corrected. As the
data became more complete and accurate, each calculated metric within each expense
category was used to produce metric averages and standard deviation statistics for all facilities,
grouped by exhibit hall size. (Standard deviation is a statistical tool used to measure variability
or spread of a sampling of data. In an analysis of collected data, there can be concern about
the validity of survey conclusions should there be certain data that are dramatically different
than all of the other collected data. A statistical rule-of-thumb for the type of data that was
collected is that approximately 95% of the data falls within two standard deviations of the
calculated average.)

Utilizing two standard deviations as a threshold, a final cross check of the accuracy of the
calculated metrics for each facility in each expense category was then performed. Finally, any
remaining individual calculated metrics outside of two standard deviations were removed from
the calculation of the average for each and every expense metric for purposes of reporting
facility consolidated results in this Report.

The survey tool and the comprehensive definitions used for the survey process are attached to
this Report for your reference. In addition, certain acronyms are used throughout the Report.
These acronyms are listed and explained in the Acronym Index below.

Looking to the future, the 2008 Expense Benchmarking Survey Report is an important stepping
stone. Subsequent expense benchmarking surveys will allow individual facilities and the overall
industry to analyze a given year’s results as well as observe and benefit from multi-year trends
for all manner of operational and financial benchmarks.

We hope you will find the following information useful and at the same time look forward to
participating in future surveys.

                                                                                                  Page 4 of 28
                                                           © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
Should you have any questions on the Report or the benchmarking process overall, please
contact either Dana Glazier at dana.glazier@IAAM.org or Mark Emch at

                                Acronym Index
               IAAM                International Association of Assembly Managers
          CC/EH Committee             Convention Center/ Exhibit Hall Committee
                 VRI                           Venue Research Institute
                DNR                                  did not report
              EH-OSFD                   exhibit hall occupied square foot days
              TR-OSFD                  total rentable occupied square foot days
              MR-OSFD             meeting room/ballroom occupied square foot days
               BOMA                   Building Owners and Managers Association
               IFMA                 International Facility Management Association
                R&M                             repair and maintenance

                                                                                              Page 5 of 28
                                                       © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
                  Convention Center Operating Expenses
                    2008 Benchmarking Survey Report
This section presents results for each operational expense category that was highlighted in the
survey, as well as facility occupancy and other items of interest collected through the survey
process. Individual facility results include all calculated expense metrics plus occupancy.
Individual responses to other items (such as the nature of facility ownership) are not included in
the Report. If your facility did not or could not supply an answer to a particular area of the
survey, the results for your facility are identified as “DNR” (did not report) for each area
affected by the missing data.


While not an expense benchmark, occupancy can be both a very useful comparison for facilities
and a contributing factor to many of the most useful expense benchmarks, particularly those
where expense is significantly influenced by event load. Most facilities use the same
methodology for calculating occupancy. For purposes of consistency in the calculated metrics,
we have adjusted a facility’s occupancy to reflect a 365 day calendar if the originally reported
occupancy data was calculated on something other than a 365 day calendar.

Occupancy data was requested based on the most common way that convention centers
present their rentable space: exhibit hall space followed by combined ballroom and meeting
room space. Some facilities offer other types of rentable space in addition to these standard
classifications, so an “other” category was included in the survey. Finally, overall combined
occupancy was requested. All leased space categories are listed below, with occupancies
broken out by facility size.

When looking at the occupancy results, note that some facilities provided only exhibit hall
space occupancy while others provided only combined total space occupancy. As a result, the
combined total occupancy for a given size of facility does not directly correlate to the
occupancies of the individual spaces. (For example, facilities with less than 100,000 square feet
of exhibit space had an average combined total occupancy of 53% while the average
occupancies of the individual leased spaces are all slightly under the 53% figure.)

                                                                                                 Page 6 of 28
                                                          © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
Occupancy Metrics
Indicated figures represent facility       Exhibit    Meeting/                       Combined
"averages" including your actual results    Hall      Ballroom                         Total

All Facilities                              52%          51%             46%             52%

> 500,000 sq ft exhibit space               59%          59%             58%             58%
100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space      50%          46%             39%             48%
< 100,000 sq ft exhibit space               50%          52%             46%             53%

Your Facility

                                                                                            Page 7 of 28
                                                     © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Building cleaning is primarily an occupancy- and use-driven expense, and is best benchmarked
using expenses divided by either exhibit hall occupied square foot days (EH-OSFD) or by total
rentable occupied square foot days (TR-OSFD). Since certain components of building cleaning
are not occupancy or use-driven, building cleaning divided by total gross building square feet
also provides a reasonable comparison. This particular metric has the further benefit of being
identical to the metric used by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and the
International Facility Management Association (IFMA) for their regular expense benchmarking

Overall building cleaning expenses within certain facilities also contain cleaning expenses that
directly generate revenue, typically through exhibit booth cleaning services. In order to
segregate these additional cleaning expenses from “standard” or baseline building cleaning
expenses, the survey asked for revenue and billing markup data in order to allow for this
segregation. The results factor out these additional revenue producing expenses, resulting in a
more “pure” comparison of standard building cleaning expenses among all survey participants.

       Building Cleaning Metrics                  Building Cleaning Expenses Divided By:
       Indicated figures represent facility        Exhibit Hall     Total Rentable    Total Gross
       "averages" including your actual results   Occupied Sq Ft Occupied Sq Ft Building Sq Ft

       All Facilities                                 $6.96              $4.11               $1.04

       > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                  $5.58              $4.45               $1.08
       100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space         $6.09              $4.32               $0.97
       < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                  $7.44              $4.11               $1.02

       Your Facility

                                                                                                     Page 8 of 28
                                                              © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
In addition to actual expense dollars, the survey also requested information on the nature of
the service represented by this expense category. The results of this additional information are
presented below.

  Nature of Provided Service – Building Cleaning
  Indicated figures represent              Service Provided By:                    Labor Primarily:
  percentage of total respondents           In-House Contracted        Both          Union      Non-Union

  All Facilities                             61%        17%            22%             26%            74%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space              20%        40%            40%             60%            40%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space     59%        14%            27%             37%            63%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space              71%        13%            16%             14%            86%

Finally, since data was collected from facilities that reported building cleaning revenue
generated directly from in-house building cleaning expenses, it is interesting to note the extent
of this revenue generation among facilities.

  Building Cleaning Revenue
  Indicated figures represent                           Generate Revenue               Do Not Generate
  percentage of total respondents                           In-House                   Revenue In-House

  All Facilities                                                29%                            71%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                                 20%                            80%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                        35%                            65%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                                 29%                            71%

                                                                                                     Page 9 of 28
                                                              © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Building security (particularly traffic control) is largely an occupancy- and use-driven expense,
although not to the extent of other expense categories such as building cleaning and room set-
up. As a result, building security expenses divided by EH-OSFD or by TR-OSFD provide useful
metrics. Based on the partial variability of these expenses, building security expenses divided
by total gross building square feet also provides a useful metric.

Similar to building cleaning, overall building security expenses within certain facilities also
contain security expenses that directly generate revenue, primarily through the in-house supply
of event security staff. In order to segregate these additional security expenses from
“standard” or baseline building security expenses, the survey asked for revenue and billing
markup data to allow for this segregation. The results factor out these additional revenue
producing expenses, resulting in a more “pure” comparison of standard building security
expenses among all survey participants.

       Building Security Metrics                  Building Security/Traffic Expenses Divided By:
       Indicated figures represent facility        Exhibit Hall      Total Rentable       Total Gross
       "averages" including your actual results   Occupied Sq Ft     Occupied Sq Ft      Building Sq Ft

       All Facilities                                 $5.12                $2.70                $0.73

       > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                  $4.93                $3.99                $0.97
       100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space         $4.59                $2.83                $0.59
       < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                  $6.34                $2.75                $0.79

       Your Facility

                                                                                                        Page 10 of 28
                                                                 © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
In addition to actual expense dollars, the survey also requested information on the nature of
the service represented by this expense category. The results of this additional information are
presented below.

  Nature of Provided Service – Building Security
  Indicated figures represent              Service Provided By:                    Labor Primarily:
  percentage of total respondents           In-House Contracted        Both          Union      Non-Union

  All Facilities                             32%        38%            30%             19%            81%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space              20%        20%            60%             50%            50%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space     23%        41%            36%             27%            73%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space              40%        41%            19%             7%             93%

Finally, since data was collected from facilities that reported building security revenue
generated directly from in-house building cleaning expenses, it is interesting to note the extent
of this revenue generation among facilities.

  Building Security Revenue
  Indicated figures represent                          Generate Revenue In-            Do Not Generate
  percentage of total respondents                             House                    Revenue In-House

  All Facilities                                                36%                            64%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                                 10%                            90%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                        39%                            61%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                                 40%                            60%

                                                                                                    Page 11 of 28
                                                              © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Room set-up expenses are very similar to building cleaning expenses, being primarily driven by
occupancy and use. These expenses are therefore best benchmarked using expenses divided
by either meeting room/ballroom occupied square feet (MR-OSFD) or by TR-OSFD. However, as
exhibit hall occupancy is the most commonly tracked occupancy measure for convention
centers, EH-OSFD is provided instead of TR-OSFD. Room set-up expense divided by overall
attendees also provides a useful comparison for facilities with similar event usage and set-up

     Room Set-Up Metrics                           Room Set-Up Expenses Divided By:
     Indicated figures represent facility            Exhibit Hall   Meeting/Ballroom
     "averages" including your actual results       Occupied Sq Ft    Occupied Sq Ft

     All Facilities                                     $10.02                  $21.39                  $1.25

     > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                       $2.91                  $14.12                  $1.55
     100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space              $8.67                  $26.19                  $1.56
     < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                      $12.54                  $22.60                  $0.98

     Your Facility

In addition to actual expense dollars, the survey also requested information on the nature of
the service represented by this expense category. The results of this additional information are
presented below.

  Nature of Provided Service – Room Set-Up
  Indicated figures represent                   Service Provided By:                        Labor Primarily:
  percentage of total respondents                In-House Contracted            Both          Union      Non-Union

  All Facilities                                  79%            8%             13%             32%             68%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                   60%            30%            10%             70%             30%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space          68%             5%            27%             41%             59%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                   89%             4%            7%              19%             81%

                                                                                                             Page 12 of 28
                                                                       © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Repair and maintenance (R&M) expenses tend to be more complex than many of the other
expense categories considered in the survey. While R&M expenses are significantly impacted
by the facililty’s occupancy, the facility’s age and the extent of capital upgrades or
improvements also play significant roles. Further, there are inconsistencies between facilities in
recording a particular type of expense as either an R&M expense or a capital expense.

Therefore no single metric clearly provides the most useful and reliable comparison for R&M
expenses. Following the lead of BOMA and IFMA, dividing R&M expenses by total building
gross square feet provides a readily available and widely used metric.

Because of the impact that facility age can have on R&M expenses, survey respondents were
asked to describe their primary facility as being more than 10 years old or less than 10 years
old. With this additional data, we are able to provide the R&M metric split between older and
newer facilities.

       Repair and Maintenance Metrics               Repair & Maintenance Expenses Divided By:
       Indicated figures represent facility
                                                            Total Building Gross Sq Ft
       "averages" including your actual results

       All Facilities                                                  $1.55

       > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                                   $1.59
       100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                          $1.35
       < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                                   $1.43

       Majority of facility is > 10 years old                          $1.50
       Majority of facility is < 10 years old                          $1.36

       Your Facility

                                                                                                Page 13 of 28
                                                          © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
The collection of facility age data also allows for a comparison of facilities by size and by age.

         Facility Age                                        Majority of Facility is:
         Indicated figures represent                              Less Than                 Greater Than
         percentage of total respondents                         10 Years Old               10 Years Old

         All Facilities                                               29%                        71%

         > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                                20%                        80%
         100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                       39%                        61%
         < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                                27%                        73%

In addition to actual expense dollars, the survey requested information on the nature of the
service represented by this expense category. The results of this additional information are
presented below.

  Nature of Provided Service – Repair and Maintenance
  Indicated figures represent                     Service Provided By:                     Labor Primarily:
  percentage of total respondents                  In-House Contracted         Both          Union      Non-Union

  All Facilities                                    56%         3%             41%             33%            67%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                     40%         10%            50%             70%            30%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space            61%         0%             39%             43%            57%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                     57%         2%             41%             19%            81%

                                                                                                            Page 14 of 28
                                                                      © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Grounds maintenance expenses are incurred by a majority of facilities. These expenses are
impacted by a wide variety of factors, including extent of external grounds maintained, types of
items and materials maintained, climate, use, etc. There is no current generally accepted
metric for grounds maintenance expenses, and so the average actual total annual expenses are
reported for your information.

     Grounds Maintenance Metrics                         Total Grounds Maintenance Expenses:
     Indicated figures represent facility
                                                                           Total Expenses
     "averages" including your actual results

     All Facilities                                                            $73,510

     > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                                            $226,038
     100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                                   $82,015
     < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                                            $31,638

     Your Facility

In addition to actual expense dollars, the survey also requested feedback on the nature of the
service represented by this expense category. The results of this additional information are
presented below.

  Nature of Provided Service – Grounds Maintenance
  Indicated figures represent                   Service Provided By:                    Labor Primarily:
  percentage of total respondents                In-House Contracted        Both          Union      Non-Union

  All Facilities                                  50%        37%            13%             22%            78%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                   25%        50%            25%             37%            63%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space          62%        19%            19%             36%            64%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                   49%        43%            8%              11%            89%

                                                                                                         Page 15 of 28
                                                                   © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Event management/coordination is partially an occupancy- and use-driven expense, and may
be benchmarked using expenses divided by either EH-OSFD or by TR-OSFD. In most facilities
these expenses are primarily provided by full time employees, with the number of employees
also partially driven by the facility’s total rentable space. Therefore, expense divided by total
rentable square feet is also provided as a metric.

          Event Management Metrics                         Event Management Expenses Divided By:
          Indicated figures represent facility               Exhibit Hall Total Rentable Total Rentable
          "averages" including your actual results         Occupied Sq Ft Occupied Sq Ft       Sq Ft

          All Facilities                                       $9.12             $4.45                 $2.18

          > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                        $1.85             $1.50                 $0.75
          100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space               $6.90             $4.28                 $1.80
          < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                       $14.50             $6.43                 $2.90

          Your Facility

In addition to actual expense dollars, the survey also requested information on the nature of
the service represented by this expense category. The results of this additional information are
presented below.

  Nature of Provided Service – Event Management
  Indicated figures represent                   Service Provided By:                         Labor Primarily:
  percentage of total respondents                In-House Contracted             Both          Union      Non-Union

  All Facilities                                     97%           0%             3%             11%             89%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                      100%          0%             0%              0%            100%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space             95%           0%             5%             14%            86%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                      98%           0%             2%             12%            88%

                                                                                                               Page 16 of 28
                                                                        © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Utility expenses are one of the most consistently defined and tracked facility expenses.
However, inherent differences occur among facilities in this metric due to regional differences
in utility rates, climate, and the varying efficiencies of installed HVAC systems. Nevertheless,
building utility benchmarks can be very informative in measuring the local impact of this
significant expense.

Depending on such factors as a particular facility’s HVAC system set-up and conservation
practices, building utility expenses can be quite variable based on building occupancy and use,
although not normally to the extent of such expenses as room set-up or building cleaning. As a
result, building utilities expenses divided by EH-OSFD and TR-OSFD provide the most useful
metrics. Building utility expenses divided by total gross building square feet also provides a
useful metric that corresponds to BOMA and IFMA standard expense benchmarking data.

      Building Utility Metrics                   Building Utility Expenses Divided By:
      Indicated figures represent facility        Exhibit Hall      Total Rentable     Total Gross
      "averages" including your actual results   Occupied Sq Ft Occupied Sq Ft Building Sq Ft

      All Facilities                                 $16.94              $9.42                $2.57

      > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                  $11.48              $9.44                $2.23
      100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space         $17.34             $10.78                $2.57
      < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                  $21.43              $9.13                $2.66

      Your Facility

                                                                                                    Page 17 of 28
                                                              © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Sales and marketing expenses are highly variable throughout the convention center industry.
This is largely due to the extent to which facilities are directly responsible for marketing and
selling the building. Facilities are responsible for anywhere from little or no sales and marketing
of the building, moderate responsibility (such as short term bookings), to virtually all of the
sales and marketing of the building. By determining the extent to which a facility is responsible
for its sales and marketing function, sales and marketing expense metrics can be modified to
account for this key factor.

Unlike many facility expenses sales & marketing expense is not significantly influenced by
occupancy and use. Therefore, sales & marketing expenses divided by exhibit hall square
footage or total rentable square footage can also provide useful metrics.

       Sales & Marketing Metrics                  Sales & Marketing Expenses Divided By:
       Indicated figures represent facility             Exhibit Hall          Total Rentable
       "averages" including your actual results            Sq Ft                   Sq Ft

       All Facilities                                     $4.64                        $2.51

       > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                      $1.40                        $1.07
       100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space             $3.65                        $2.15
       < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                      $5.46                        $2.76

       Little or no sales/mktg responsibility             $1.33                        $0.89
       Short term sales/mktg responsibility               $3.39                        $2.36
       Most or all sales/mktg responsibility              $5.57                        $2.65
       Other sales/mktg responsibility                    $6.64                        $3.12

       Your Facility

                                                                                                   Page 18 of 28
                                                             © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
We are also able to present a chart breaking out sales & marketing responsibility by size.

       Sales & Marketing Responsibility
       Indicated figures represent                 Little       Short           Most
       percentage of total respondents            or None       Term            or All

       All Facilities                               12%          36%            51%              1%

       > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                20%          40%            40%              0%
       100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space       17%          57%            26%              0%
       < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                7%           24%            67%              2%

The survey asked respondents to indicate the nature of their primary event activity based on
the primary market of the actual facility’s sales and marketing activity (rather than basing on
total number of events within given classifications of events). The survey choices included
“primary events are national and regional conventions, trade shows and corporate events,”
“primary events are local meetings, banquets, consumer shows and community events,” or

As it turned out, primary event market was not useful as a differentiating factor given the scope
of this benchmarking project and Report,. However, with the data collected, it is interesting to
note how the sales and marketing emphasis is split out between facilities based on size.

       Sales & Marketing Emphasis               Primary Sales & Marketing Event Emphasis is on:
       Indicated figures represent                National and          Local
       percentage of total respondents          Regional Events        Events            Other

       All Facilities                                57%                 35%                   8%

       > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                 100%                 0%                    0%
       100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space        83%                 17%                    0%
       < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                 34%                 52%                   14%

                                                                                                      Page 19 of 28
                                                               © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

Property insurance, including real and personal property insurance, is often a facility expense.
Property insurance is consistently defined and tracked for those facilities that purchase such
insurance, However, differences occur between facilities that affect this expense, including the
local probability of natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) and the extent of
deductibles within the specific insurance coverage. Property insurance coverage is almost
always based on replacement value of the insured items rather than variable factors such as
attendance, occupancy or revenues. As a result, the expense divided by total gross building
square feet provides the best metric.

General liability insurance is almost always a facility expense. Where it is not, general liability
coverage is usually provided through the governmental entity overseeing the facility. General
liability insurance is typically consistently defined and tracked among facilities. As with
property insurance, the extent of deductibles within the specific insurance coverage can affect
expenses. In addition, insurance coverage can be “priced” by underwriters in different ways,
including attendance data, nature of events and extent of revenues. With all factors
considered, insurance divided by facility attendance and by EH-OSFD provide the most suitable

                                              Property Insurance
   Insurance Metrics                          Divided by:             General Liability Insurance Divided by:
   Indicated figures represent facility            Total Gross           Exhibit Hall
   "averages" including your actual results      Building Sq Ft        Occupied Sq Ft          Attendance

   All Facilities                                   $0.38                     $1.46                   $0.26

   > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                    $0.30                     $0.62                   $0.36
   100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space           $0.26                     $1.29                   $0.22
   < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                    $0.50                     $2.25                   $0.20

   Your Facility

                                                                                                         Page 20 of 28
                                                                   © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

There were several other aspects of facility operations that were surveyed to potentially further
differentiate or compare facilities against each other. These additional items include the

         Total attendance for all events within the survey reporting period
         Total number of events within the survey reporting period
         Nature of facility ownership (state, county, city, authority or other)
         Nature of facility management (public, quasi-public / authority, private or other)

As has been noted elsewhere in this Report, attendance data has been used within certain
expense categories to provide effective and meaningful metrics. It is interesting to note that
total combined annual attendance for all events in the facilities that participated in the survey
is an impressive 32,000,000 people. Roughly extrapolated out to the entire industry (based on
a total of 462 facilities tracked within the United States and Canada by Tradeshow Week), that
indicates an industry that drew a staggering combined annual total of 189,000,000 people.

The total number of events held by all participating facilities was equally impressive, with some
28,000 events of all types reported. (Extrapolated throughout the industry, that results in a
total of 165,000 events). The chart below compares both attendance and event date,
differentiated by facility size.

     Attendance & Events
                                                Total Event        Total Number
     Indicated figures represent facility                                                  Attendance
                                                Attendance           of Events
     "averages" including your actual results                                               per Event

     All Facilities                              429,882                 394                  1,581

     > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space               986,413                 245                  4,933
     100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space      592,784                 377                  1,777
     < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space               219,802                 438                   664

     Your Facility

                                                                                                    Page 21 of 28
                                                              © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
Finally, the survey inquired as to the nature of facility ownership and facility management.
Although it was not within the scope of this Report, it may be helpful and interesting in future
reports to sort certain expense or other operational and financial metrics based on these
criteria. For now we simply present the nature of ownership and management based on facility

  Facility Ownership
  Indicated figures represent
                                             State      County         City      Authority       Other
  percentage of total respondents

  All Facilities                              9%         10%           55%          18%            8%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space              10%         20%           30%          30%           10%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space     13%         0%            65%          13%           9%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space              7%          13%           55%          18%           7%

  Facility Management
  Indicated figures represent                  Public      Authority          Private           Other
  percentage of total respondents

  All Facilities                                48%              19%           28%                5%

  > 500,000 sq ft exhibit space                 40%              40%           10%               10%
  100,000 to 500,000 sq ft exhibit space        57%              13%           30%                0%
  < 100,000 sq ft exhibit space                 44%              18%           31%                7%

                                                                                                Page 22 of 28
                                                          © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
                  Convention Center Operating Expenses
                    2008 Benchmarking Survey Report

The Convention Center Operating Expenses 2008 Benchmarking Survey Report is intended to
serve two goals; provide a stepping stone to future operating expense surveys throughout the
convention center industry, and provide facility management with meaningful and useful
expense benchmarks.

Future expense benchmarking surveys will allow for the creation of multi-year trend data for
each of the metrics within each expense category, thus greatly enhancing the usefulness of the
data. However, even single year data as represented by this Report allows for identification of
trends within individual expense categories. For example, in looking at the results it comes as
no surprise that there are considerable economies of scale within larger facilities for both event
management and sales and marketing expenses. On the other hand, it seems remarkable how
similar building cleaning expenses are for all sizes of facilities, based on total gross building
square feet.

As facility managers compare their local results against the facility averages listed in the Report,
it is important to note that there are many factors that can influence individual expenses and
specific calculated metrics. Consider each metric as simply a starting point in analyzing
operating expenses against peers. No one metric within each expense category should be
considered “best in class”. The results in the Report can certainly add to facility management’s
overall tool chest in identifying operational strengths and weaknesses.

The value of benchmarking data is significantly influenced by the quantity of responses.
Collecting benchmarking data over multiple years not only allows for establishment of trends
but helps ensure that each year’s data is reliable.

In consideration of these factors and overall benchmarking project goals, we sincerely thank all
78 facilities that participated in the 2008 Survey and look forward to even greater participation
in future years.

                                                                                                  Page 23 of 28
                                                            © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers

                  IAAM Benchmarking Survey
              Convention Center Operating Expenses
Introduction: This survey is intended to develop and provide comprehensive operational expense
benchmarks within the convention center industry. Your participation will help ensure that the survey
results will be meaningful to all participants. All responses to the survey questions will be treated
Please note two important items before proceeding with the survey:

        Before completing the survey please carefully review the “Definitions of “Expense Categories”
        located at the back of the survey to help ensure accurate completion of the survey.
        If your organization manages a “complex” that includes facilities that are in addition to a
        convention center (or if you have multiple convention centers under management), please be
        sure to answer the survey questions with only the convention center operation in mind (or only
        primary convention center if multiple convention centers). If you do not separately track all
        expenses for the convention center, please estimate the appropriate allocation of expenses for
        just the convention center to the best of your ability.
        Please report expense data based on the most recently completed fiscal year ending before
        January 1, 2008.

1. Facility Ownership (check one)
          1-1  State 2  County 3  City 4 Authority 5  Other_____________________________

2. Facility Management (check one)
          2-1  Public 2 Quasi-public (e.g. authority) 3  Private 4 . Other ____________________

3. Exhibit Hall Gross Rentable Square Feet                                                                              SF 3
4. Meeting Room / Ball Room Gross Rentable Square Feet                                                                  SF 4
5. Other Gross Rentable Square Feet
                                                                                                                        SF 5
6. Total Gross Rentable Square Feet                                                                                     SF 6
7. Total Gross Overall Facility Square Feet: (Do not include “outdoor” space and
parking facilities)
                                                                                                                        SF 7
8. Is the majority of the facility’s total gross overall square footage:
8-1 . Less than 10 years old 2  10 years or older

9. Primary Event Activity (defined as primary sales/marketing emphasis of building) (check one)
9-1 Primary events are national and regional conventions, trade shows and corporate events
9-2  Primary events are local meetings, banquets, consumer shows and community events
9-3  Primary events are other (describe_______________________________)

                                                                                                      Page 24 of 28
                                                                © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
10. Regarding sales & marketing for your facility, check the answer that best describes your situation:
47-1 The Convention Center is directly responsible for little if any of the selling and marketing of the convention
center, regardless of the long term or short term nature of events
2 The Convention Center is directly responsible for selling and marketing the convention center for most if
not all short term events (defined as generally within an 18-month or 24-month time frame), but is directly
responsible for little if any long term events
3 The convention center is directly responsible for most if not all of the selling and marketing of the
convention center, regardless of the long term or short term nature of events
4  Other (describe)_________________________________________

                                                                                                       Page 25 of 28
                                                                 © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING! When submitting this questionnaire, please understand that the
information you provide will be treated confidentially. Your facility will not be identified by name in any
resulting reports or presentations other than information provided back to you. You will receive a
completed survey report with summarized responses from all facilities participating.

                                                                                                        Page 26 of 28
                                                                  © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
                               DEFINITIONS OF EXPENSE CATEGORIES

Building Cleaning
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for building
cleaning, trash removal, and pest control. Excludes expenses for trash removal, booth cleaning, and
other exhibit hall cleaning which are invoiced by the building to exhibitors or show managers. Excludes
all cleaning costs paid by exhibitors or show managers to third parties.

Building Security and Traffic Control
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for securing
the physical property and building personnel. Includes all traffic control expenses paid for by the building.
Excludes event related security and traffic control expenses paid by exhibitors or show managers to
either the building or third parties.

Room Set-Up
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for setting
up tables, chairs, stages, etc. in meeting rooms, exhibit halls, and public spaces. Excludes set-up
services that are purchased by exhibitors or show managers from third parties.

Repair and Maintenance
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for the repair
and maintenance of all building electrical, plumbing, HVAC, fire and life safety, and other building
systems and components. Includes trade services such as painter, electrician, engineer, carpenter,
plumber, welder, etc. Excludes roads and grounds maintenance expenses that the building may be
responsible for. Excludes capital improvements. Excludes electrical and plumbing services provided to
exhibitors and show management.

Grounds Maintenance
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for the
maintenance of all external grounds to the building. Excludes capital improvements.

Event Management/Coordination
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for event
management/coordination activities. Expense category typically is primarily comprised of event building
staff, typically “event managers” and “event coordinators,” working directly with event’s meeting planner
and staff to facilitate event.

Building Utilities
Includes all expenses for electricity, gas, fuel oil, purchased steam or chilled water, and water/sewer.

Sales & Marketing
Includes expenses for all labor, materials, equipment (non-capital), and contracted services for all sales
& marketing expenses provided directly by the building, including advertising, client promotions,
marketing & promotional materials and sales related travel. Includes all expenses (personnel and non-
personnel) related directly to all sales & marketing staff employed by the building. Excludes expenses
of other organizations such as convention and visitors bureaus.

Property Insurance
Includes expenses for all types of property insurance, including real and personal property. Include
terrorism coverage if it is contained within your property insurance. Include insurance broker fees if
applicable. Exclude paid claims or settlements not covered by insurance.

General Liability Insurance
Includes expenses for all types of general liability insurance, including excess liability coverage.
Include insurance broker fees if applicable. Exclude paid claims or settlements not covered by

                                                                                                        Page 27 of 28
                                                                  © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
All Other Operating Expenses
Includes all other operating expenses not already described above. The combination of all expenses
described above plus “All Other Operating Expenses” should equal total operating expenses.

                                                                                                   Page 28 of 28
                                                             © 2009 International Association of Assembly Managers
2010 Operating Expenses - Convention Centers
                                                     Large                     Less than or
                                      All                         100,001 -
                                                  Greater than                   equal to
                                   Facilities                    500,000 sq.
                                                 500,000 sq. ft.               100,000 sq.
Net Building Cleaning
      Average                        $687,541      $2,948,374     $479,118      $135,746
      Median                         $262,155      $3,322,011     $330,900      $119,254
      Max                           $3,508,261     $5,877,000    $1,484,272     $437,614
      Min                             $17,000       $262,155       $57,781       $17,000
      Number Reporting                   53            13            19            22
Net Building Security
      Average                        $547,998      $1,931,410     $285,942      $127,591
      Median                         $290,006      $1,737,538     $214,893       $89,766
      Max                           $2,041,981     $4,344,067     $982,172      $386,923
      Min                              $4,807       $531,690       $8,162         $4,807
      Number Reporting                   43            13            17             13
Repair and Maintenance
      Average                        $906,624      $3,551,640     $656,141      $217,998
      Median                         $472,550      $3,019,013     $527,631      $104,477
      Max                           $5,748,630     $7,657,147    $2,087,348     $900,000
      Min                             $13,395       $347,969       $23,112       $13,395
      Number Reporting                   54            12            20            21
Venue Grounds Maintenance
      Average                         $72,105      $315,681        $40,245       $23,427
      Median                          $35,675      $240,451        $20,115       $22,936
      Max                            $379,900      $678,123       $130,420       $49,920
      Min                              $1,040       $55,409         $1,040        $2,500
      Number Reporting                   41           10              15            16
Building Utilities - Gas
      Average                         $74,384      $208,620        $86,950       $33,423
      Median                          $55,406      $156,768        $76,074       $16,818
      Max                            $277,000      $549,108       $235,111      $120,000
      Min                              $1,500       $6,865          $3,541        $1,500
      Number Reporting                   52           13              20            21
Building Utilities - Electric
      Average                        $787,746      $2,673,030     $632,367      $166,772
      Median                         $516,825      $2,855,594     $577,500      $136,227
      Max                           $3,484,763     $4,480,128    $1,511,087     $463,616
      Min                             $20,000      $1,007,030      $92,743       $20,000
      Number Reporting                   55            12            21            21
Building Utilities - Water/Sewer
      Average                        $101,068       $255,491       $68,699       $28,474
      Median                          $61,258       $160,384       $62,048       $10,510
      Max                           $1,082,695     $1,082,695     $166,628      $141,633
      Min                               $847         $70,003       $11,521        $847
      Number Reporting                   54            12            20            20
Building Utilities - Other Utilities
      Average                        $337,200       $754,973      $269,199       $21,249
      Median                          $47,500       $180,638       $35,621       $15,992
      Max                           $2,032,611     $2,032,611    $1,229,575      $53,000
      Min                              $1,059        $35,526       $11,569        $1,059
      Number Reporting                   26             7            12              6
Building Utilities - Total Building Utilities
      Average                       $1,240,973     $3,581,863     $971,942      $258,844
      Median                         $704,231      $3,257,396     $794,000      $195,395
      Max                           $5,000,273     $6,137,226    $2,380,687     $732,516
      Min                             $30,847      $1,806,779     $242,317       $30,847
      Number Reporting                   56            12            21            22

                                      IAVM 2010 Profile and Operating Expense Survey 10/5/2012
2010 Operating Expenses - Convention Centers
                                               Large                       Less than or
                                 All                        100,001 -
                                            Greater than                     equal to
                              Facilities                   500,000 sq.
                                           500,000 sq. ft.                 100,000 sq.
Room Setup
      Average                  $654,135        $1,555,115     $561,199      $219,346
      Median                   $335,644        $1,737,192     $344,682      $152,143
      Max                     $1,996,208       $1,996,208    $1,877,610     $741,668
      Min                       $12,657         $325,673       $48,511       $12,657
      Number Reporting             46              10            17            18
Event Management/Coordination
      Average                  $365,183         $890,318      $336,223      $223,194
      Median                   $317,152         $900,000      $308,972      $189,370
      Max                     $1,150,597       $1,586,779     $797,387      $542,973
      Min                       $28,000         $246,478       $69,029       $28,000
      Number Reporting             48              13            20            18
Sales and Marketing
      Average                  $598,211        $1,625,958     $510,921      $198,862
      Median                   $278,059        $1,691,053     $277,334       $88,007
      Max                     $2,941,864       $3,650,562    $2,941,864     $757,611
      Min                        $7,152         $95,000        $17,500        $7,152
      Number Reporting             51              12            19             20
Property Insurance
      Average                  $154,794         $532,967       $73,660       $23,445
      Median                    $52,064         $340,877       $50,000       $26,109
      Max                     $1,244,659       $2,243,339     $188,384       $54,127
      Min                        $3,000          $19,467       $30,300        $3,000
      Number Reporting             40              12            13             13
General Liability Insurance
      Average                   $61,309         $122,809       $57,864       $19,837
      Median                    $32,086          $94,168       $41,997       $16,496
      Max                      $352,116         $352,116      $145,602       $43,679
      Min                        $2,488           $2,488       $18,148        $3,000
      Number Reporting             45               12           15             17
Information Technology
      Average                  $201,503         $708,451      $133,139       $48,621
      Median                    $74,593         $635,280       $73,044       $34,257
      Max                     $1,188,286       $2,131,657     $581,277      $176,098
      Min                        $1,500          $30,532        $4,114        $1,500
      Number Reporting             48              12             18            18
All Other Operating Expenses
      Average                 $2,482,129        $9,464,899   $1,726,000     $917,883
      Median                  $1,528,714        $9,959,399   $1,531,816     $634,914
      Max                    $12,320,220       $18,672,983   $5,065,747    $2,453,194
      Min                      $108,975         $1,525,612    $108,975      $170,000
      Number Reporting             52               12           21            20
Total Operating Expenses
      Average                 $8,457,870       $25,445,402    $5,844,878   $1,913,257
      Median                  $4,008,706       $26,878,023    $4,536,443   $1,682,537
      Max                    $33,793,793       $40,641,969   $16,767,000   $3,887,088
      Min                      $334,700         $7,761,705     $952,207     $334,700
      Number Reporting             57               12            20           22

                                 IAVM 2010 Profile and Operating Expense Survey 10/5/2012

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